Middle Eastern

Dinner Tonight: Sweet Corn Polenta with Eggplant Sauce

October 13, 2015

The buzz around Yotam Ottolenghi has grown steadily since his first cookbook, Ottolenghi, was published in 2008. Since few of us have a spare moment to dash off to London for a quick taste (it is a weeknight, after all), why not bring some Ottolenghi right into your own kitchen? 

This is a meal that allows the eggplant to star on a bed of homemade sweet corn polenta. Even if you're a little swamped, the extra steps it takes to make your own polenta only add deliciousness (in the form of sweet corn and feta). Warm and savory, this Sweet Corn Polenta with Eggplant Sauce reminds us—just as Yotam Ottolenghi himself does—that vegetables can be incredibly exciting. 

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Grocery List: 

(Organized by area of the market)

Serves 4

1 medium eggplant
1 cup chopped tomatoes (fresh or canned)
1 bunch fresh oregano
6 ears of corn
7 ounces feta
2 teaspoons tomato paste
1/4 cup white wine

We're assuming you already have vegetable oil, butter, sugar, salt, and black pepper, but if not, add those to your list, too!

With about 45 minutes to dinner, cut the eggplant in a 3/4-inch dice. Fry the eggplant in 2/3 cup of vegetable oil on medium heat for approximately 15 minutes, or until brown. Remove the eggplant from the pan and pour the excess oil into a separate container. Whatever you do, don't throw the oil away—you can use it for your scrambled eggs tomorrow (trust us, it's delicious). Put the eggplant back in the pan and stir with the 2 teaspoons of tomato paste, cook for 2 minutes, then add 1/4 cup of white wine (and pour yourself a glass too). Stir for another minute and then add the cup of chopped tomatoes, 6 1/2 tablespoons water, 1/4 teaspoon salt, 1/4 teaspoon sugar, and 1 tablespoon fresh oregano. Cook for another 5 minutes, until the sauce is fragrant (go ahead and taste a spoonful).

Peel the corn and shave the kernels from the cobs, then simmer the kernels in 2 1/4 cups of water for 12 minutes on low. Remove the corn with a slotted spoon and reserve cooking liquid. Purée the corn kernels in a food processor until they're totally broken up, adding a few spoonfuls of the cooking liquid if it seems too dry. Return the corn paste to the pot and cook until it's the consistency of mashed potatoes, 12 to 15 more minutes. Add in 3 tablespoons butter, the 7 ounces of feta and salt and pepper to taste. Then pour yourself another glass of wine, place a scoop of polenta on a plate, top with the eggplant sauce, and enjoy!

Photo by James Ransom

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A New Way to Dinner, co-authored by Food52's founders Amanda Hesser and Merrill Stubbs, is an indispensable playbook for stress-free meal-planning (hint: cook foundational dishes on the weekend and mix and match ‘em through the week).

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8 Comments

Jennifer S. October 28, 2016
I made this tonight and it was delicious. A couple of things - I didn't have enough fresh corn so I used what I had. After cooking it and blending it, I added it to some normal polenta cooking in another pan instead and it was very good. The feta makes this very rich, so portion accordingly. And my eggplant absorbed way too much of the oil - I think I should have used a wider pan. Still delicious, though!
 
Hemz7781 November 8, 2015
How much frozen corn should I use to sub for the 6 ears?
 
Barb October 20, 2015
My kitchen is overflowing with the last harvest of my eggplants. Can't wait to try this recipe !
 
Dana R. October 20, 2015
I would think that traditional corn meal polenta with some pureed frozen corn added might replace the fresh corn version if there is no fresh corn or if you want to spend less time and effort. I plan to try this soon. Eliminating or reducing the feta might make it less rich.
 
julita84 October 18, 2015
Although this dish was tasty, it was much richer and heavier than I had imagined. Also, I used frozen corn kernels, and the consistency of the polenta didn't reach the desired thickness: I added a bit of flour, which helped a lot.
 
HalfPint October 15, 2015
Can you use frozen corn kernels to make the polenta?
 
Bella B. October 14, 2015
Polenta is delicious! I will have to try this variation. <br /><br />xoxoBella | http://xoxobella.com
 
TerryB5520 October 13, 2015
Thank you! Gonna make this tomorrow night. Pretty dang excited.