Tuesday, April 12, 2011
Should Have Taken a Picture
The roasted vegetable sauce last night wasn't good. It was awesome. The above picture? Not so much. It came from some where else. Though, on the upside, while looking for a great picture I found a whole blog that is great.
The recipe below made two generous helpings, so probably more like 4 if you are into something called "moderation." It is a radical idea I haven't quite gotten my head around yet.
Roasted Vegetable Sauce over Polenta
3 1/4 cups water
1 tsp salt
1 cup cornmeal
3 Tbsp butter (plus more for frying polenta)
2 Medium Tomatoes
1 large red pepper
2 small zucchini squashes
1 head of garlic
1/4 cup fresh basil
Boil water and salt (if your butter is salted, you my want to halve this amount). Add cornmeal and reduce heat to low. Whisk rapidly for two or three minutes until all water is absorbed, and the cornmeal is smooth and thick. Remove from heat and add butter, whisking until melted and creamy. Spread the polenta into a lightly buttered (or sprayed) 8 (or 9) inch square casserole dish, making the top as even as possible and of uniform thickness. Refrigerate until completely cooled so that it can be cut--about two hours.
To roast vegetables: Halve and seed the tomatoes and place them skin side down on a baking pan. Quarter the pepper and put it skin side down also. Cut the ends off the zucchini and slice length-wise and lay peel-side down. Cut the top of the head of garlic off, exposing the heads. Brush everything generously with a mixture of olive oil and balsamic vinegar. Add pepper (fresh, if you have it) and salt. Roast at 425 degrees for 20 to 25 minutes. Remove from oven and cool.
To assemble your dish before dinner, remove the polenta from the fridge and cut it in to 8 rectangles. In a non-stick pan (iron skillet is perfect), heat (medium) a combination of butter and olive oil. Be generous. The butter will help flavor the polenta, but the oil will not burn as quickly. While your oil heats, peal the skin from your cooled peppers and tomatoes. It should come off easily. Place all of your tomatoes in a blender (I used a Magic Bullet because the amount was so small.) along with half of the red pepper and zucchini. Scoop the soft, sweet garlic from the heads and add it to the blender with the basil. Puree this mixture.
Add the polenta to the butter pan. You want to cook it fast enough that it gets a crusty shell instead of just being greasy, but slow enough that it doesn't burn. You should only turn it once. About five minutes on each side.
While the polenta cooks, puree your vegetables and add them to a sauce pan. Chop the remaining roasted zucchini and peppers to add some chunkiness to the sauce. When the sauce heats through, taste. Add ins for more flavor might include dried oregano (could also be added in the roasting phase), red pepper flakes, salt, pepper, and balsamic vinegar.
When the polenta is cooked on both sides, serve immediately with the sauce spooned on to the top (it will be thick). Sprinkle with Parmesan cheese and garnish with more basil.
We ate it with a side salad and homemade bread sticks.
Oh, and I did find this. If you don't want to puree the veggies, just grill them and serve polenta by the slice (use a pie plate) with your favorite marinara from a jar. THIS is up for next week. And on a sciencey vegetarian note, serving squash and corn together makes a complete protein.