Lekker Brekker Monday: Cheesy polenta with a fried egg & onion-tomato relish

Lekker Brekker Monday: Cheesy polenta with a fried egg & onion-tomato relish
Grainy brekker: Tony Jackman’s cheesy polenta with a fried egg and tomato and onion relish, photographed in a breakfast bowl by Mervyn Gers Ceramics. 29 April 2024. (Photo: Tony Jackman)

Polenta finished with cheese and butter is the base of a breakfast that can be adapted in many ways. Just don’t skimp on the cheese, it’s what makes it such a delicious start to the day.

Here’s a recipe I concocted this morning (it being Friday when I am writing this) in a bid to make a breakfast a little different from the norm. There’s no bacon in it, but there could be. There’s no sausage in it but there could be. The extras are open to your preferences and your imagination.

I chose to serve the polenta with a fried egg (yes, of course you can have two) and a ladle of a tomato and onion relish. I finished it off with chopped garlic chives, salt and black pepper. But you could easily grate some Parmesan over if you like.

The heart of the dish, though, is that cheesy polenta. I stirred two cups of grated Langbaken Stout Willis into polenta made with 2 cups of heated milk and ½ a cup of polenta grains. This cheese melts quickly and easily, but there’s no reason why regular old mature Cheddar can’t be used instead. As long as it is a good melting cheese, choose your favourite.

I made a quick relish of fried sliced onions simmered with Italian passata (strained tomatoes) for some pure tomato flavour on the side. The passata is barely cooked at all, just heated through with the cooked onion. The whole point of passata is its fresh zing of tomato flavour.

(Serves 2)


(Serves 2)

½ cup polenta

2 cups milk

3 Tbsp butter

2 eggs

Butter for frying the eggs

2 cups grated Langbaken Stout Williston cheese

1 small onion

½ cup tomato passata

2 Tbsp olive oil

1 Tbsp chopped garlic chives


Black pepper

Garlic chive flowers


Grate the cheese and have it to hand. Chop the chives.

Cook the onion first. Using 1 small or ½ a larger onion, slice it thinly and sauté in a little olive oil until lightly browned. Season with salt and black pepper. Add the passata and heat through just before serving.

Heat the milk, with a little salt, in a heavy pot until just before boiling point. Turn the heat down low, and pour in the polenta slowly while whisking continuously. Continue to whisk until the mixture (which will be very liquid to start with) slowly starts to thicken. Once it is thick but still able to be stirred (so, don’t cook it so thick that it becomes claggy), add a generous nob or two of butter and stir in.

Stir in the cheese until it is well incorporated.

Fry the eggs in butter, sunny side up.

Reheat the polenta and divide between two breakfast bowls. Add an egg on top or alongside. Spoon the tomato relish on or alongside. Scatter chopped garlic chives over. DM

Tony Jackman is Galliova Food Writer 2023, jointly with TGIFood columnist Anna Trapido. Order his book, foodSTUFF, here

Follow Tony Jackman on Instagram @tony_jackman_cooks.

This dish is photographed in a breakfast bowl by Mervyn Gers Ceramics.


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