Thursday, February 15, 2007

Rosemary Polenta Triangles

I love rosemary and rosemary loves me back. It tastes as good as it smells, and looks as lovely as it tastes. It thrives under the care of the lazy gardener, as it's drought resistant and hardy. I grow it in a pot on my porch, and it valiantly struggles to keep up with rate at which I clip its branches away for my cooking. Weekend Herb Blogging is hosted by a fellow Jewish food blogger this week - The Chocolate Lady of In Mol Araan, who blogs in both Yiddish and English. For this event I chose to adapt a recipe with Italian flavor to be both vegetarian and kosher. In doing so, I was reminded of the long history of Jews in Italy, and a search online brought me a new cookbook to add to my wishlist: Cucina Ebraica: Flavors of the Italian Jewish Kitchen.

This fabulous rosemary-infused polenta recipe is originally from Ina Garten (a/k/a The Barefoot Contessa), one of my favorite TV chefs, whose cooking is normally high fat and far from kosher or vegetarian. While this is not a low-fat dish by any stretch of the imagination, I have managed to reduce the fat content a bit from the original recipe. The transformed recipe turned out to be one of the most delicious incarnations of polenta that I've experienced.

The flour I used to coat the polenta triangles before pan-frying was my Rice Flour Mix, and for vegetable stock I put to use some of the leftover Isaiah's Victorious Vegetable Stock I had in my freezer, which lent an impressive amount of flavor and richness that a storebought broth would lack. This recipe could be easily and deliciously made vegan by substituting margarine (or additional olive oil) for the butter, using an unflavored soy milk as a replacement for milk, and eliminating the cheese.

Though they are terrific all by themselves, I served these tasty triangles on top of a puddle of hot marinara sauce, which was absolutely perfect.


5 tablespoons unsalted butter
1/4 cup olive oil
4 cloves minced garlic
1 tsp crushed red pepper flakes
2 tsp finely minced fresh rosemary leaves
1/2 tsp kosher salt
1/2 tsp freshly ground black pepper
3 cups vegetable stock
4 cups milk (whole or 2%)
2 cups cornmeal or instant polenta
1/2 cup grated parmesan or pecorino romano cheese
Gluten-free flour mix
1 tablespoon olive oil, for frying
1 tablespoon butter, for frying

Heat 6 tablespoons of butter and 1/4 cup of olive oil in a medium-sized pot on medium heat. Add the garlic, red pepper flakes, rosemary, salt, and pepper and sauté for 2 minutes. Add the vegetable broth and milk, and bring to a boil.

Remove the pot from the heat and slowly sprinkle the cornmeal or instant polenta into the hot milk while stirring constantly with a whisk. Cook over low heat, stirring constantly, until thickened and bubbly (about 5-10 minutes). For instant polenta, follow the instructions on the package (usually requires only 3 minutes). Remove from heat and stir in cheese.

Pour the polenta into a 9 x 13 x 2-inch pan, smooth the top with a rubber spatula so that it is even, and refrigerate until firm and cold (approximately 1 hour).

Cut the chilled polenta into 12 squares, as if it were brownies. Then carefully lift each square out of the pan with a spatula and cut it diagonally into two triangles. Dust each triangle lightly in gluten-free flour.

Heat 1 tablespoon olive oil and 1 tablespoon butter in a large sauté pan and cook the triangles in batches over medium heat for 3 to 5 minutes, turning once. Cook until browned on the outside and heated throughout. Additional butter and oil may be added as necessary. Serve immediately, alone or with tomato sauce.


Kalyn Denny said...

Sounds very fabulous. I love rosemary!!

Allergic Girl® said...

fresh herbs just make winter seem that much shorter--between the rosemary and the basil, where will ms bay take us next! ;-)

Kerrick said...

I saw Cucina Ebraica at Pegasus Books not too long ago, and almost picked it up, but forebore. It does look good.

Dolores said...

Just got a fragrant bunch of rosemary in my CSA box -- thanks for this inspiring recipe!

Ilva said...

mmmmm is all I can say!

Unknown said...

Dude, these look so good. If it twere late summer, I would also add a fresh tomato basil topping...or make a nice fresh tomato cream sauce. mmmm. Makign me hungry.

Dianne said...

These look gorgeous, especially as I love rosemary, I havent used it much untill just recently, now I seem to use it in everything!

I Am Gluten Free said...

Ok, this is definitely going right to the top of my list of recipes to try! Do you think I could substitute soy milk for the cow's milk? Can't wait - yum!

Jean Layton-GF Dr. Mom said...

yummy! I can't wait to try this one. I love polenta as an appetizer for a party, it always goes first.
I like the idea of adding a light sauce, but would go with a lemon and rosemary mayonnaise for textural interest.

Peabody said...

I'm going to give these a try...they look darn tasty.

Mike Eberhart said...

I definitely enjoy polenta. And, I can honestly say, I don't know if I have ever seen a more wonderful picture of polenta before -- that really came out great bay!

the chocolate doctor מרת שאקאלאד said...

Just beautiful! I have updated the round-up to include this.

Vanessa said...

wow! I can think of a million ways to eat this - but fresh out the pan sounds just fine!

Shinscot said...

i'll confess that this was my first venture into the world of polenta. i've fallen hard -- and that's without being able to procure fresh rosemary for this one! i was obsessed with this for dinner last week, and couldn't wait to get home each night. ended up making it again this week, using the excuse that my chili really did need a starch to go with it, and this would be the perfect corn-bread topper substitute.

ByTheBay said...

Shinscot, I am so glad to hear that you enjoyed it! It never occurred to me to use polenta as a corn bread topping.