Polenta is a typical North-Italian dish, that used to be poor man’s food. But nowadays polenta, made of corn meal, is for everyone. Even some fancy restaurants serve it without shame. And no wonder: it’s relatively easy to make and doesn’t have a very strong flavour, which makes it very versatile.
According to some sources it’s even a aphrodisiac as well…
The first time I had polenta was actually in Italy and quite a story on its own. I was there with my ex-boyfriend; in Venice. We wanted to go out for dinner, but everyone who has even visited Venice knows as well as we did, that most places are over-priced and super touristic.
We decided just to go walking around and try to get away from the crowd. I believe we were even looking for a specific square that the Lonely Plated promised to be “local”. At some point we stumbled upon a street festival. A very typical Italian one: there was lots of food, plenty of wine and old ladies were dancing to the music. We decided to stay and enjoy the – very affordable – barbecue food.
After a while we got talking with some Italian students there. We asked them what the festival was all about. It turned out to be a socialistic / communistic festival (no wonder the smell of weed Cuban flags everywhere!) Hilarious.
So on the polenta. It was there – in North-Italy – that I had polenta for the first time. And I loved it. I, however, never really got around making it myself. It’s one of those things that needed to find its way to my repertoire I guess. Maybe this recipe will help! Super Italian, to my opinion: easy, with a few ingredients but massive taste. I got the asparagus from the farmers market and bought the best mozzarella I could find.
I was planning on making the polenta myself, but the supermarket only sold ready-made. Even easier!
- 300g ready made polenta
- 8 green asperge tips
- 200g cherry tomatoes
- 2 shallots
- 125g mozzarella
- 3 tbsp white wine vinegar
- 2 tsp garlic powder
- 1 tbsp sugar
- Olive oil
- Salt, pepper
Pre-heat the oven at 180C.
Chop the cherry tomatoes in halves. Finely chop the shallots and mix with 3 tbsp olive oil, white wine vinegar, sugar and a pinch of salt. Mix the cherry tomatoes with this and place them on a baking tray. Roast the tomatoes for about 15 minutes.
Meanwhile, boil water and cook the asperge tips for 3 minutes. Drain and rinse with cold water.
Heat a grill. Slice the polenta in slices of about 1cm thick. Spread each side with olive oil and sprinkle with garlic powder and salt. Grill the polenta on both sides for 3 minutes, until golden.
Serve the polenta with the polenta tips, grilled tomatoes and mozzarella. Add a drizzle of olive oil, and some fresly grated pepper.