Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Grilled Vegetables with Parmesan Polenta

What is your favorite comfort food? For me, it is good Mexican beans and rice and then salsa drowning it all together. There is a place in Azusa, CA called Carmen's and never have I tasted beans and rice like they have there. Unreal.

Besides beans and rice, my newest comfort food find is polenta. I have had it in plenty of restaurants, but I had never made it until now. I followed Alton's method for making polenta. He does a much more sensible method where you put it in the oven instead of stirring constantly. And it worked well having it in the oven because while it did it's thing, I grilled the vegetables.

This dish is fantastic. There is great grill flavor from the vegetables. The polenta is smooth and savory. The next day, I made pan-fried polenta cakes for lunch. All you do is heat up a pan over medium high heat, add a little olive oil and then make little cakes of polenta in your hands. Fry them on each side for about 1 minute and then you have a whole new meal.

For the polenta:
2 Tbsp olive oil
3/4 cup finely chopped onion
1/4 tsp kosher salt
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 qt chicken or vegetable stock
1 cup polenta
3 Tbsp butter
1 1/2 cups shredded Parmesan
A few grinds ground pepper

Set the oven to 350 degrees.

In a medium pot over medium high heat, add the olive oil. Once the oil runs quickly in the pan, add the onions. Saute for 5 minutes. Once softened, add the garlic and saute for 1 more minute. Set heat to high and pour in the stock. Once boiling, gradually whisk in the polenta. Cover and put into the oven for 35-40 minutes, whisking every 10 minutes to prevent lumps.

Once smooth, remove from the oven and whisk in the butter, Parmesan and ground pepper. Serve with grilled vegetables.

For the vegetables
1 large zucchini, cut into spears
2 red onions, sliced into rings
5 ears of corn, shucked
3 Tbsp olive oil
2 tsp kosher salt
A few grinds ground pepper

Heat the grill to medium high. Toss the vegetables in olive oil, salt and pepper. Grill the vegetables for 10 minutes, turning halfway through.

Remove vegetables from the grill and let sit until cool enough to handle. Cut zucchini into chunks and cut the kernals off the corn.

Serve vegetables over polenta.

Yields 6 servings.

Rookie's Notes: If you want to add meat to this, I suggest grilling some sausages next to the vegetables. Then slice the sausages and serve them over the polenta.


meg said...

The other night at an Italian restaurant, Mark wouldn't order the polenta 'cause he said it has the texture of cream of wheat. And why would he pay to eat a pile of soggy corn meal. I had a hard time arguing with that.

Oh, and I am sorry about that picture. I must have been sleeping when I fancified it. The contrast looks out of control. Oh well. Never claimed to be a professional.

AzĂșcar said...

I adore polenta! I especially love to poor the extra in a pan and then slice them into bars to fry/saute the next day--great breakfast.

JennyMac said...

Looks fantastic. I love polenta!

Cafe Johnsonia said...

I love polenta, but don't make it as often as I'd like b/c I HATE stirring it and getting burned. Brilliant to make it in the oven! I am making this tonight.

Ryan and Tammy said...

Just what I needed. The polenta in my pantry is calling my name.

Sarah said...

Mmm! I love polenta. I think I will make this this week for sure!

number17cherrytreelane said...

This looks AMAZING...and I'm sorry about your bad day (last post). I hope things are looking up.
Thinking about you...


Ashley Thalman said...

This looks like a recipe for 'ole Thalman meat, polenta and veggies. Yo! Thanks!

sarahe said...

i am totally on a beans & rice kick...i like to mix them together w/cheese and sour cream & guacamole and then scoop it up w/chips....yum

natthefatrat said...

Polenta is a total textural dream, I love it to death. I had really awful polenta in, of all places, Paris. Right? I know, it was bizarre. Obviously my palate is wacked?