Author Notes: In its entirety, this is a recipe that works and is really, really good. But it's also full of ideas you can parcel out as you see fit -- namely: polenta doesn't have to be born out of dry goods. Fresh corn, cooked quickly, breaks down to a sweet soup in the food processor. Adapted slightly from Ottolenghi's Plenty (Chronicle Books, 2011).
- Genius Recipes
- 2/3 cups vegetable oil
- 1 medium eggplant, cut into 3/4-inch dice
- 2 teaspoons tomato paste
- 1/4 cup dry white wine
- 1 cup chopped peeled tomatoes (fresh or canned)
- 6 1/2 tablespoons water
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 1/4 teaspoon sugar
- 1 tablespoon chopped oregano
- Heat up the oil in a large saucepan and fry the eggplant on medium heat for about 15 minutes, or until nicely brown. Drain off as much oil as you can and discard it -- the safest way to do this is to scoop out the eggplant to a plate using a slotted spoon, then pour off the oil into a bowl before added the eggplant back in. You can save the oil to fry lamb chops or eggs in tomorrow.
- Add the tomato paste to the pan and stir with the eggplant. Cook for 2 minutes, then add the wine and cook for 1 minute. Add the chopped tomatoes, water, salt, sugar and oregano and cook for a further 5 minutes to get a deep-flavored sauce. Set aside; warm it up when needed.
- 6 ears of corn
- 2 1/4 cups water
- 3 tablespoons butter, diced
- 7 ounces feta, crumbled
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- Black pepper
- Remove the leaves and "silk" from each ear of corn, then chop off the pointed top and stalk. Use a sharp knife to shave off the kernels -- either stand each ear upright on its base and shave downward, or lay each ear on its side on a cutting board to slice off the kernels. You want to have 1 1/4 pounds kernels.
- Place the kernels in a medium saucepan and barely 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.
- Process them for quite a few minutes, to break as much of the kernel case as possible. Add some of the cooking liquid if the mixture becomes too dry to process.
- Now return the corn paste to the pan with the cooking liquid and cook, while stirring, on low heat for 10 to 15 minutes, or until the mixture thickens to mashed potato consistency. (Be aware that if you have a lot of liquid left in the pan, it can take a while to cook down the polenta, and it will sputter. Consider holding back some or all of the liquid. Alternately, if you like the consistency after processing, you can skip to step 5.)
- Fold in the butter, the feta, salt and some pepper and optionally cook for a further 2 minutes. Taste and add more salt if needed.
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