In “Love: A Dinner Story” my friend Eilidh mentions a grilled polenta dish that won over her vegetarian musician boyfriend Noah. Since she didn’t provide the recipe (bad girl!) I decided to improvise a version for myself. And I’m glad I did! Grilled polenta has a gourmet vibe, yet it’s so easy to prepare. It’s also a great way to use up all those seasonal peppers that are so cheap right now. You can also improvise by adding whatever veggies you have on hand (I made it a second time with mushrooms and baked eggplant slices, which was also yummy) . Cheeses can also be varied as well as herbs (I had fresh basil on my terrace so that was an easy choice, but coriander could be nice too.) I’m definitely going to start keeping a polenta tube in my fridge or maybe, if I’m more ambitious, start making polenta from scratch. Instead of barbueing the polenta, you can also pan fry it.
Premade polenta roll, sliced in six 1/2 inch slices
2 yellow peppers
8 cherry tomotoes, halved or quartered
handful chopped basil
parmesan, two tablespoons
1 tablespoon feta (optional)
1-2 tablespoons pine nuts, toasted lightly on the stove in a pan (optional, I know they’re pricey)
2-3 tablespoons olive oil for the marinades
garlic, three cloves chopped]
a drizzle of balsamic on plate to finish
1. Coat sliced polenta in olive oil and garlic.
2. Slice peppers in large pieces, toss in 1 tablespoon of olive oil and one clove of chopped garlic. Grill on medium-high until blackened and soft. Remove and return to olive oil and garlic marinade. Let cool, peel off black bits and chop. Add to tomato, basil, pine nuts, garlic and feta.
3. Grill polenta slices for four-six minutes per side or until browning and crispy on outside. Return to olive oil and garlic plate briefly to pick up flavours of marinade when hot. Place on serving plate (3 per plate). Sprinkle polenta with parmesan. Top with relish. Drizzle with vinegraite or just balsamic if you want to avoid extra oil.
If you pre-make a relish at home – or even bring something storebought — this would be a great camping dish (as Eilidh proved on her first camping date with her true love.)