Market-fresh veggies on an amazing Parmesan polenta: Where simple meets sumptuous.
One pot to rule them all
All this cooking I do for EuroCAST makes me dizzy sometimes. But the Dutch oven keeps me grounded.
Everything you can make in a Dutch oven comes out tasting like home. And it cooks up everything so beautifully (I even do cakes in our Dutch oven). Do I need to even mention that clean-up is a swish of the kitchen faucet, a soapy sponge, a rinse, and I'm done?
And with polenta, every single box gets checked. Cooks great. Cleans like a dream (take THAT, stainless steel).
Polenta tastes like home. Particularly if I put on my Texas drawl granted to me by my family and say the word "grits" with several syllables. "What's for dinner, maw?" "Gree-its, dahlin'."
You can put so many good things on polenta. Sauté up some spinach in garlic, swirl it into the polenta, top with over-easy eggs, and season with sea salt and freshly ground pepper. Bam: Breakfast.
Or spoon over some of that cowboy chili we made last week on Recipe of the Week.
This time, to market! Once there, hunt for the best veggies you can find. If you don't know how to pick vegetables at a market, the beautiful thing is you can ask. Someone at the booth always knows -- someone, even, who probably picked what you're about to eat.
Ready for flavor that tastes like home, that's simple to make and clean-up, and is dreamily sumptuous? Yes, you are.
Vegetables and polenta
For this dish, I found some eggplant, squash, and cherry tomatoes at the market. These cherry tomatoes were ripe enough to have sweetness that rounds out their acidity. You can go with grape tomatoes if you're buying at your favorite grocery store. Grape tomatoes have extra sweetness built in.
- First, grate about two to three cups of Parmesan cheese, setting one of those cups aside to put into the polenta.
- Next, make polenta according to package instructions in a EuroCAST sauce pan large enough for the troops you're feeding (or another Dutch oven).
- When the polenta is almost done, swirl in about a cup of freshly grated Parmesan cheese.
- While you're doing this, make the vegetable topping.
- 2 small eggplants (smaller the better -- more flavor, people), trimmed and cut into discs, then salted and set into a colander for 30 minutes, rinsed then drained well.
- 2 small zucchini trimmed and cut into large match-stick lengths
- 1 red pepper, washed, trimmed and cut into strips
- 1 yellow pepper, washed, trimmed and cut into strips
- 2 handfuls of shishito peppers whole
- 1 pint red cherry tomatoes
- 1 pint yellow teardrop tomatoes
- 1 large red onion, cut in half and sliced into shards
- 5 cloves garlic, smashed, paper removed, and then minced
- 1 bunch fresh thyme tied with kitchen twine
- Olive oil
- Kosher salt, fresh black pepper
- Crushed red pepper flakes
- Excellent quality sherry vinegar
- In your EuroCAST Dutch oven, warm a few tablespoons of olive oil over medium heat.
- Add all the tomatoes and eggplants first, letting the vegetables char slightly. Heating and breaking down the tomatoes this way releases their juices. (You'll notice from the photo I also char the shishitos. You can do that in the first step, or not.)
- Add all other vegetables except the garlic and thyme and give it a good toss.
- Season with kosher salt and black pepper.
- Sauté for 5-10 minutes.
- Add the garlic and thyme (you have wrapped the thyme in string, yes?)
- Add a bit more olive oil and let simmer over low heat for 20 minutes.
- Don’t over-cook as you want the vegetables to keep their tooth.
- Remove the thyme bundle and toss it away.
- Splash the sherry vinegar over top to add that acidic sparkle we all know and love.
- Spoon over Parmesan polenta.
At the table, bring red pepper flakes and extra Parmesan for your posse.
Taste like home? Yes. Simple? Yes. Easy clean-up? Well, of course.
That all makes this mama happy. And the star of the party is the Dutch oven. (See the EuroCAST 5 quart on special above -- just click the photo for the deal! You are welcome.)
About that breakfast
Yes, polenta is for breakfast. And lunch. And dinner.
And so it is with our amazing griddle. I love the EuroCAST griddle for all kinds of things -- for example, biscuits. But pancakes come to mind. And if you want to move things from the stovetop to the oven (say, for warming pancakes), the handle comes off. And you can then just carry all the pancakes to the table to present your bounty, because the griddle is one handsome piece of cookware. With the durable construction of the pan (especially because of the rigidity and mass of the ferrous plate), your pancakes stay warm while they're waiting for family to dig in.
The only question is ... are you going to top the pancakes with real maple syrup, or fruit reduced with juice and sugar, or butter, or marmalade, or ...
Here's that griddle. On special (normally $329.99, now just $199.99).