I had an appetizer dish at “Nico and Vali” in Plymouth, MI, that was not only great, but a meal in itself. The concept (according to the menu) was a base of grilled, butter and sage polenta, with with a couple of homemade sausage patties, which were topped with a grilled pepper and chiles mixture in a light tomato sauce.
Hokey Smokes, Batman! This was delicious and pretty much qualified as a meal.
I made 2/3 of the recipe off the side of the bag of Bob’s Red Mill Polenta and added a couple of tablespoons of sage leaves when I added the butter (slowly add 1 1/3 cup of polenta to 4 cups of boiling water with 1T olive oil, simmer for 30 minutes with frequent stirring; mix in 2T butter and 2T sage leaves, and transfer to an oiled 9x12 glass baking dish and let sit to firm up, at least 10 minutes; cut into 3x3 pieces).
Note: I do not add salt to anything, and I really do not understand why all the chefs do this except that they have become accustomed to too much salt. Believe me, if you can get down to about 1000 mg a day, or less, you will find that a little bit goes a long way, and you will prefer none. The one exception is adding a small portion of salt to beaten eggs and letting them sit for 5-10 minutes. The salt has a dramatic effect on making small, creamy curds once you see that deep orange color emerge in the pre-cooked eggs.
pepper and onions
large sweet onions, large dice
colored bell peppers, 1-2 inch strips
3x3 inch polenta slices (see recipe in the original description)
Italian sausage patties
sweet Italian sausage (bulk)
hot Italian sausage (bulk)
In This Recipe
Heat the onions in the oil at med-high heat until they begin to caramelize (about 20 minutes)
Add the peppers and continue to heat and stir for about another 20 minutes.
Clear a space and add the garlic, mixing them into the batch.
Add the tomato paste, spices and herbs. Mix well, and keep the assembly on low heat while you complete make the sausage patties.
Mix well all of the sausage patty ingredients (except the oil).
Divide the meat, using a ½ cup scoop, into 12 portions.
Heat the oil to medium in a pan, and lay in the hand-flattened sausage patties 4 at a time (in 3 batches), cooking for 4 minutes on each side and then removing to a plate covered with a paper towel.
Remove most all of the remaining oil from the pan and lightly sear the polenta slices, about 2-3 minutes on each side.
Build the dish starting with a polenta slice topped by one of the sausage patties. Add a heaping ½ c scoop of the pepper and onion mixture, and top with a generous amount of freshly grated parmigiano reggiano cheese.
Alternatives include adding a few tablespoons of balsamic vinegar to bathe the stack.
Reheating preparation can be done by separately heating the components and combining them.
An alternative assembly can be the polenta and sausage topped with a slice of mozzarella, topped with the pepper and onion mixture along with a half a cup of tomato sauce, then heating the assembly for 10-15 minutes at 400F.