|Sweet Corn Polenta and Eggplant Sauce|
I was never a fan of polenta. I like cornmeal made into corn bread, corn tortillas and tamales, but polenta always seemed like a bland, tasteless food and I would never order a dish that contained polenta and I never made polenta at home. It seemed like too much trouble and it really didn't taste good, in my opinion, and my tasting partner agreed. Then I saw a recipe in Yotam Ottolenghi’s cookbook Plenty that used corn kernels to make polenta. Interesting, making polenta from whole corn kernels, why not? This recipe is fresh, vibrant and delicious. It can be made vegan, or vegetarian, and is not too time consuming. It is a filling and flavorful meal that my tasting partner and I enjoyed thoroughly.
recipe after the jump
Eggplant Sauce and Sweet Corn Polenta
2/3 cup vegetable oil
1 medium eggplant, cut into 3/4 inch dice
2 tsp tomato paste
¼ cup white wine
14 ounces diced tomatoes (or 1 ½ cup fresh tomatoes diced)
6 ½ Tbls water
¼ teas salt
¼ teas sugar
1 Tbsp oregano
20 ounces of frozen corn (or kernels from 6 ears of fresh corn)
2 ¼ cups water
3 Tbsp butter, diced (or vegan substitute)
7 ounces of feta, crumbled (optional)
¼ teas salt
To male the eggplant sauce:
Heat the oil in a large sauce pan and fry the eggplant on medium heat, for about 10 minutes, or until nicely browned. Drain off as much oil as possible and discard. Add tomato paste, and stir into eggplant. Cook for 2 minutes, then add wine and cook for 1 minute. Add the chopped tomatoes, water, salt, sugar and oregano, stir and cook over medium heat, for at least 5 more minutes to develop a thick, flavored sauce. Set aside and warm when needed.
To make sweet corn polenta:
Place kernels (either frozen or fresh from ears of corn) in a medium sauce pan and cover them with the water. Cook for 12 minutes on a low simmer. Use a slotted spoon to lift the kernels from the water and into a food processor; reserve the cooking liquid in the pan. Process them for 3-4 minutes, (or even longer) to break as much of the kernel as possible. Add some of the cooking liquid to the mixture if it becomes too dry to process.
Return the corn paste to the pan with the cooling liquid and cook, while stirring, on low heat for 10-15 minutes, or until the mixtures thickens to a mashed potato consistency. Fold in the butter (or vegan substitute), feta, if using, salt and pepper. Taste and add more salt if necessary.
Divide polenta between 4 plates and top with eggplant sauce in the center.