The first time I tried polenta, it was out of those supermarket tube shaped packages, disappointingly bland, barely rescued by our spicy marinara. This killer homegrown version is a different
animal grain altogether, rendering the accompanying pesto superfluous.
Broccoli Polenta cakes (recipe adapted from the smashing Veganomicon)
– 1 cup stone ground coarse polenta
– 3 and 1/2 cups water
– salt and fresh black pepper to taste
– 1 cup broccoli, chopped fine ( I used frozen)
– 2 oz Queso Fresco
– Bring the water to boil in a heavy saucepan. Slowly pour in the polenta, stirring constantly with a whisk.
– Add the broccoli, salt and pepper.
– Lower the heat to a simmer and keep stirring for 10-15 minutes until it thickens to creamy pudding consistency. (Be careful of hot splatters.)
– Cover and turn off the heat. Let it rest for ten minutes, until it is thick enough to be picked up on a flat spatula.
– Pour the polenta into greased muffin pans and cool. (Silicone pans are perfect for this..don't even need greasing.)
– Once cooled, turn over on a foil-lined baking sheet, crumble half the queso on top and place under the broiler until the cheese turns golden.
Sun-dried tomato cilantro pesto
– 1/2 cup sundried tomatoes
– 1 cup boiling water
– 1/4 cup almonds, ground
– 1/2 cup cilantro, packed
– 2 tbsp lemon juice
– salt and pepper to taste
– Soak the tomatoes in boiling water for ten minutes. Then, grind everything together in a food processor or blender.
Serve the polenta over the pesto, with roasted vegetables on the side, and more crumbled queso for garnish. I broiled a couple of zucchinis, tossed with olive oil, salt, pepper, oregano and vinegar, on the same tray with the polenta.
* Omit the queso for a vegan version.
* Serves 4. Per serving about 250 calories.