I love anything that is corn based. Cornbread, corn tortillas, corn on the cob, creamed corn, popcorn, corn tortilla chips…—- polenta. It’s a wonder why I don’t make polenta more often. It is SO easy!
All you do to make polenta is get water up to a boil, then whisk in corn meal until it thickens. That’s all. Well, besides adding salt and pepper, and some butter- but it’s really as easy as making oatmeal!
Since I am determined to become a good griller this summer, I decided last night to make grilled polenta for dinner. That was the start- all the rest of the meal came together piece by piece.
As you saw, I had cut up a huge heirloom tomato for lunch. I had some spinach and basil in the garden. Something that goes great with polenta is a sauce of sorts. The texture of polenta really soaks it up nicely. I didn’t have much on hand- but I did have balsamic vinegar. So I decided to thicken it by making a reduction.
Then I decided I needed some protein. Cornmeal and vegetables alone wouldn’t fill me up. So I simply skewered then grilled some shrimp.
Add a segmented citrus salad, pop open a beer- and I had myself a very nice dinner.See those grill marks on that polenta? It was SO good with that charred flavor. Will definitely be repeating this recipe- with a different sauce next time maybe, just to change things up.The flavor combination really worked- it was a light, refreshing, yet filling spring meal.
Polenta: So I know you can buy those logs of polenta in the store, but it’s really easy to make, as I mentioned. After making it over a stove by whisking cornmeal into water, then seasoning, all you need to do is pour it into a dish with sides- a pyrex or any square container works great. I just used a ziplock container. Stick it in the fridge for about 20 minutes and it will solidify. You will be able to cut it (I did triangles), rub it with some olive oil, and grill it, pan fry it, or bake it. Really- try it- it’s THAT easy. Just make sure your grill or pan is hot before starting to cook.
Balsamic Reduction: Another easy thing to do: In a sauce pan over low heat just bring some balsamic vinegar to a very, very light simmer. There is a lot of sugar in it naturally, and it can burn quickly. Let it reduce for about a half hour. When you run a spoon through it, it should look syrupy. Then you know it’s done. All you’re really doing is letting much of the water evaporate, so what you’re left with is a thicker, more sugar condensed sauce.
I have another salad to share with you soon- with a really good dressing! Until then, enjoy your Sunday!