Thursday, June 17, 2010

Polenta got your goat?

Stone ground grits and local goat cheese are really the stars of this dish.  It capitalizes on our easy access to local stone ground grits down here, by using them to make polenta triangles - same grain, different name on opposite sides of the pond.  I've cooked up this relatively simplistic dish by topping polenta cakes with cremini mushrooms, local cherry tomatoes, my final kale harvest, and crumbled local goat cheese.  You could of course sub in any number of summer veggies or other types of mushrooms here...  roasted eggplant would be a welcome addition when it's available!  
-2 c (roughly) of cherry tomatoes 
-4 cloves garlic, minced
-olive oil
-2 c corn grits or polenta (same thing)
-6-8 cremini mushrooms, sliced 
-1 large bunch of kale, stems removed and chopped
-4 oz goat cheese, crumbled

->Toss cherry tomatoes with olive oil, 2 cloves of minced garlic, salt, and pepper to coat.  Put in a toaster oven (preferably to save energy and keep the kitchen temp down) or a regular oven.  Roast at 400 degrees, stirring occasionally until slightly browned and most of the liquid is gone (about 30-40 minutes).  

Meanwhile, bring a large pot of 6 c of water to a boil with about 1 teaspoon of salt.  Gradually stir in polenta.  Do not dump it in all at once, or you will have polenta chunks to break up.  Reduce heat to simmer gently and continue stirring until polenta becomes very thick and pulls away from the sides of the pan when stirred (about 20-30 minutes).  At this time, you can add a couple of tablespoons of butter and/or some parmesan or goat cheese if you want.  Pour/spoon polenta into a 9x9 square pan or a 9-inch pie pan.  I like to flatten it at this point by pressing another pan the same size down on the top.  Refrigerate polenta until firm (or stick it in the freezer for a bit to speed this process along).  

Coat a pan with olive oil and heat over medium heat.  Add mushrooms and garlic and saute until mushrooms are somewhat browned.  Add roasted cherry tomatoes.  Cook a few minutes until mixed.  Add kale, season with salt, pepper, and red pepper flakes (if desired).  Cover, stirring occasionally until kale is wilted.  

When polenta is firm and while veggies are cooking, heat a pan coated with olive oil over medium-high heat.  Slice your polenta into triangles or wedges (depending on square or round pan).  Brown the polenta wedges on both sides.  

Plate the polenta wedge, top with sauted veggies, and crumbled goat cheese.  Garnish with green onion or sliced basil if you have some on hand.  Enjoy!
~*TIP: If you have more polenta wedges than you can handle, see next recipe or try the following:  Slice your polenta wedges into thirds, each slice about 1/4 to 1/2 inch thick.  Cut the slices into smaller triangles about the size of a chip or cracker.  Coat with oil and season with salt, pepper, red pepper, and rosemary.  Pop them in the toaster oven and cook until brown and crispy, turning halfway through.  They will make delicious little chips or croutons!  Crispy on the outside and chewy on the inside.  My roommates demolished them in minutes.*~

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