The July/August 2018 issue of Eating Well has, as you might expect, some terrific recipes taking advantage of summer harvests. This recipe from Julia Clancy, a recipe developer from EatingWell, is a perfect example. Is there anything better than a hot-off-the-vine tomato? I don’t think so.
I’ve been intimidated by making my own polenta for a while. This week, finally, I gave this recipe a try, and I have to admit the difference is amazing! I’ll be hard-pressed to buy the ready-made products from now on.
The only “downside” to this recipe is that it takes quite a while to complete – the polenta cooking and cooling period is about 3 hours total. I made the polenta ahead of time, marinated the salad together in the refrigerator and, since we were having one of those unpredictable dinner times, assembled everything in about 20 minutes. This is definitely a great meal to prep ahead of time and put together later.
Served with a crisp, dry rose, this was a terrific mid-summer vegetarian meal.
Sweet Corn Polenta with Bell Pepper & Tomato Salad by Julia Clancy
For the Polenta:
- 5 cups water
- 1 cup coarsely ground cornmeal or polenta
- 1 cup corn, fresh or frozen
- 1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese (please, not the canned dust!)
- 2 TBSP unsalted butter
- 1 tsp ground pepper
- 1/2 tsp salt
For the Salad
- 2 medium red and/or yellow bell peppers, halved & seeded
- 2 cups cherry tomatoes halved
- 3 TBSP extra-virgin olive oil, divided
- 1 TBSP red-wine vinegar
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 2 TBSP chopped FRESH herbs (basil, mint and/or tarragon)
- To prepare polenta: Bring water to a boil in a large saucepan. Reduce heat to low and gradually add cornmeal, whisking constantly to prevent clumping. Cook, stirring occasionally, until the polenta is creamy and reduce to about 4 cups (50 or 60 minutes). If the mixture is too stiff, loosen with 2 TBSP water.
- Add corn, Parmesan, butter, pepper and salt. Cook, stirring occasionally, until the cheese is melted and the corn is tender – about 5 minutes. Coat a 9×13 baking dish with cooking spray. Pour in the polenta and let cool to room temperature, about 1 hour. Loosely cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate until firm – about 2 hours or up to 1 day.
- To prepare the salad: Position a rack in upper third of oven; preheat broiler to high. Place peppers cut-side down on a baking sheet (I lined with foil). Broil, rotating the pan once, until softened and charred – 4 to 6 minutes. Transfer to a bowl, cover with plastic wrap and let steam for 10 minutes. Rub off blistered skin and coarsely chop the peppers. Combine with tomatoes, 2 TBSP oil, vinegar and salt in a medium bowl.
- Position a rack in upper third of oven; preheat broiler to high. Cut the polenta into 12 squares and place on baking sheet. Brush both sides of the polenta with the remaining 1 TBSP oil. Broil, turning once until golden brown – 3 to 5 minutes.
- To serve: Arrange the polenta and tomato salad on a large serving platter and top with herbs.
To make ahead: Prepare up to Step 4; refrigerate polenta and salad separately for up to 1 day. Serve salad at room temperature.