spotlight on - polenta

TOM HUNT: GRILLED POLENTA WITH NEW SEASON ASPARAGUS & SPARTAN TAPENADE

Featured Video Play Icon

Recipe by Tom Hunt author of The Natural Cook.

A little polenta story: My friend Brigida was raving about her families polenta, the species of corn which the polenta is made from is called ‘otto file’ meaning eight rows – conventional polenta has been bred to have 16 rows. She told me how her parents would fight over their polenta recipe because they come from two villages 20km apart. Each village having their own preferred method. Her father likes a firmer polenta which you can hold and dip into the sauce and slices it with a thread. Where as her mother slices it with a curved olive stick. I was so intrigued about her polenta that I asked her to send me some from her home town Lucca. The polenta came ground fresh the day it was sent. It was so delicious I put it on my menu straight away. Boiling it up using Brigida’s tips and family methods then grilled with new season asparagus.

Grilledpolentatapenadeasparagus

BRIGIDA’S TIPS:

It is better to leave the polenta thicker than thinner, because you can still add boiled salted water at the end if you are not happy, but you cannot add flour, because it will taste very raw.

Polenta was eaten during war times in her area. Nothing was wasted. So if there are any leftovers, they taste amazing grilled, deep fried or with melted cheese on top.

tomhunt_recipe02

 INGREDIENTS

FOR THE TAPENADE

75g kalamata olives, pitted
Dash of extra virgin olive oil

 FOR THE POLENTA
(serves 6)

1-1.2ltr water
1 tsp sea salt
1100g polenta

 TO SERVE

6 spears asparagus, trim the very end

tomhunt_recipe01

 METHOD

FOR THE POLENTA

Bring the water to the boil in a thick bottomed saucepan. Add the salt, then stir in the polenta in one go. Keep stirring to prevent lumps from forming until the polenta has started to absorb the water and become creamy. When it reaches a runny porridge like consistency, cover the pot with a damp tea towel (only use a towel cleaned with an unperfumed natural cleaner). Place the lid on top. and leave on a very low heat for 50-60 minutes. The polenta is ready when it comes away from the sides of the pan. If it is a little too thick add some extra boiling water. Serve hot like mash potato or pour onto a wooden board to set and cut into wedges.

 FOR THE TAPENADE

Finely chop the olives then pound in a pestle and mortar to make a rough paste. Add a little extra virgin olive oil.

 TO SERVE

Grill wedges of polenta and asparagus on a very hot griddle for 2-3 minutes each side. The polenta should be slightly crispy and the asparagus slightly charred. Dress with a teaspoon of the tapenade.

Share on FacebookTweet about this on TwitterPin on PinterestShare on TumblrEmail this to someone