Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Holy stovetops Batman! It's Polenta!


Remember when being nerdy started being cool? I sure do.

They began putting superheroes on shirts in department stores. Lord of the Rings was made into a movie trilogy that made gajillions. Rubix cubes started becoming a plague. These things all make my heart smile.

And perhaps, just perhaps, my geeky excitement about how awesome polenta will catch on, too. You'll help me make the trend happen, right?

I was literally giddy with excitement when I licked the pot clean while I waited for the polenta to cool in the fridge. It just tasted so good!

And the finished product (meaning chilled then sauteed)? Heavenly. No, scratch that - in honor of our geek-themed blog post, let's say that the finished product was: ZEUSLY (Guess who's on a Greek mythology kick right now?)

I even pretended that I was dining in a fancy restaurant when I ate my dinner, because if I closed my eyes, the food tasted like 5 star material. No joke.

Without further ado, I present to you... POLENTA!

Polenta 2

Adapted from Alton Brown's (Good Eats) Recipe

2 tablespoons olive oil, plus extra for grilling or sauteing if desired
3/4 cup finely chopped yellow onion
2 cloves garlic, finely minced
4 cups (2 cans) vegetable stock or broth
1 cup coarse ground cornmeal
3 tablespoons unsalted butter
1 1/2 teaspoons kosher salt
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1 ounce Parmesan, grated

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.

2. In a large, oven-safe saucepan heat the olive oil over medium heat. Add the red onion and salt and sweat until the onions begin to turn translucent, approximately 4 to 5 minutes. Reduce the heat to low, add the garlic, and saute for 1 to 2 minutes, making sure the garlic does not burn.

3. Turn the heat up to high, add the vegetable stock, bring to a boil. Gradually add the cornmeal while continually whisking. Once you have added all of the cornmeal, cover the pot and place it in the oven. Cook for 35 to 40 minutes, stirring every 10 minutes to prevent lumps.

4. Once the mixture is creamy, remove from the oven and add the butter, salt, and pepper. Once they are incorporated, gradually add the Parmesan.

5. Serve as is, or pour the polenta into 9 by 13-inch cake pan lined with parchment paper. Place in the refrigerator to cool completely.

6. Once set, turn the polenta out onto a cutting board and cut into squares, rounds, or triangles. Brush each side with olive oil and saute in a nonstick skillet over medium heat, or grill.

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