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Author Notes: I love the bounty of beautiful and unusual vegetables at the union square greenmarket each week. One of my favorite little gems are fairy tale eggplants. The name alone is enough to make you smile, but they are also delicious and really easy to work with. I like to simply saute them with tomato, garlic and onion and serve it all over some cheesy gooey polenta. Whats great about the below recipe is that it is super simple, and you can substitute almost any fresh vegetables you have on hand to make it your own. It works great both as a side, and as a hearty vegetarian supper. Enjoy! —KateSmith
Serves 4 as an entree, or 6 sides
For the Polenta
- 1 cup Polenta (I like Bob's red mill)
- 2 cups whole milk
- 1 cup (plus extra as needed) Water
- 2 tablespoons Butter
- 1/2 cup Parmesan (Or Pecorino if you prefer it)
- Salt to taste
- 1 pint Fairy Tale Eggplants, Halved
- 1 tablespoon Extra Virgin Olive Oil
- 1 Onion, Finely Chopped
- 3 Cloves of Garlic, Minces
- 1 pint Cherry Tomatoes, Halved
- 1 tablespoon Balsamic Vinegar
- handfuls Chopped Fresh Basil
- Salt and Pepper to Taste
- For the Polenta: add the milk and water with a pinch of salt, to a deep pot and bring to a boil. Add the poltenta and lower to a simmer, stirring regularly so it doesn't burn to your pan. Cook about 30 minutes. If you prefer stiff poltenta, this should be perfect. If you like your polenta a little looser, add additional water until desired texture is achieved. Finish off with butter and take off the heat. Stir in parmesan.
- For the Vegetables: While the polenta is cooking, add olive oil to a large pan over medium heat. Add onions and cook for about 5-7 minutes. Add garlic and cook for another 1-2 minutes until fragrant. Add eggplant and toss together with onion/garlic mixture, cook for 2-3 minutes. Add tomatoes and toss. Add Balsamic vinegar and stir to coat. Add salt and pepper and cook until tomatoes just start to blister, but still maintain their shape (about 3 minutes depending on their size/variety). At the last second toss in basil.
- Scoop polenta onto a large plate and spoon the eggplant mixture on top. Top with additional parmesan and basil and enjoy!