Monday, February 2, 2009

Polenta Surprise

My Sunday mornings can be more chaotic than any weekday morning, with a rush off to church, leading adult education or singing in the choir or whatever churchly duty may be asked of me. Brunch after church gives me a calm I relish. So after a messy week of early mornings for medical procedures and airport runs, I decided to treat myself to a nice relaxing brunch at Pesce Fresco. The owners (should people named Diner be in the restaurant business?) are friends. Joel attends the same church I attend and we met when our church sponsored some Sudanese refugees. Even if I didn't have that connection with Joel, Pesce Fresco would still be one of my favorite brunch places. As I told a friend, it is no more expensive than any other breakfast place, but the flavor combinations are unique and the atmosphere is more intimate.
I had a Tuscan frittata with a few modifications in deference to my restricted diet. I liked the contrast of the faint brine on the artichoke with the sweet of the Hollandaise. I passed on the potatoes, those ubiquitous chunks that everyone does pretty much the same way, for the polenta. I prefer not to eat meat and I particularly do not like sausage, but I tried the polenta against my better judgement. The sausage overpowered the delicate polenta and frustrated me because I could not taste the polenta or savor its texture because the sausage dulled my senses. It even overwhelmed the lovely frittata it accompanied. The sausage was something of a bull in a china cabinet. I rather regretted my choice of polenta over potatoes. The unfortunate sausage did not ruin my brunch experience, but it did not enhance it at all!
I brought about half of my brunch home. I separated the polenta from the frittata, hoping at least the frittata would be a nice breakfast this morning. Overnight, a wonderful thing happened in my refrigerator. The sausage mellowed. All the things I loved about the frittata, even the Hollandaise, held up and reheated well and the sausage was just a light touch, a whiff, an interesting texture. Now I'll just have them box up the polenta for a tasty treat the next day and I can savor the lovely and complex flavors of my frittata when they are fresh and at their height.

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