⅓ cup olive oil
½ cup green olives, coarsely chopped
1 cup fresh Italian parsley or basil, coarsely chopped
½ cup fresh oregano, coarsely chopped
½ cup fresh thyme, coarsely chopped
½ cup sage, chopped
½ cup thyme, chopped
1 clove garlic, crushed
150g grated parmesan
3 tbsp olive oil or 75g butter
1 onion, finely diced
2 cloves garlic, finely chopped
1 tablespoon chopped thyme
1L good-quality chicken stock or milk
200g fine polenta (‘instant’ polenta is ok)
¼ cup cream
pinch of freshly ground black pepper
1 teaspoon white vinegar
Mix olives, fresh herbs, garlic and parmesan in a small food processor.
Gradually add in olive oil and season with salt and pepper.
Mix until homogenous. Set aside.
Soft herby polenta
Heat the oil or butter in a large, heavy-based saucepan. Add the onion and garlic and thyme and sweat gently for 5 minutes, until they are soft, but not coloured. Add the stock or milk to the pan and bring to the boil. Pour in the polenta in a slow steady stream, whisking vigorously until the mixture begins to boil, then lower the heat to a brisk simmer. Cook for 5 – 10 minutes, stirring with a wooden spoon from time to time, until the mixture thickens and becomes smooth and creamy. Remove the pan from the heat and stir in the butter and cream. Taste and adjust the seasoning if necessary. Serve straight away.
Crack eggs into a small bowl, set aside. Heat another medium-sized pot with water, adding a sprinkle of salt and teaspoon of vinegar to water. When water is at a boil, slip the four eggs into the water bath, swirling with a spoon to help eggs form into solid shapes. Cook for about four minutes for a slightly runny centre.
Ladle about 1 ½ cups of the polenta into a large bowl, add an egg to each bowl, garnish with the olive-herb pesto.
Serve with extra olive oil and lots of salt and pepper.