Thursday, August 11, 2005
POLENTA with SPICY EGGPLANT SAUCE
These eggplant recipes come from Quick, Simple, and Main-Course Vegetarian Pleasures, a cookbook that I have been using a great deal lately. This book contain lots of recipes that call for fresh produce, which we have been purchasing from local farm stands. We all enjoyed this spicy sauce; however the boys didn't care for the mushy texture of the polenta. I think the sauce would be great over pasta.
Simmering Eggplant in this tasty sauce rather than frying it reduces the amount of fat needed and cuts down time spent in front of the stove. Here, the eggplant sauce is spooned onto slices of slightly firm polenta to make a colorful and substatial dish.
3 T olive oil
3 cloves garlic minced
1/4 tsp crushed red pepper flakes
1 28 ounce can tomatoes chopped with their juice
1 T tomato paste
2 tsp red wine vinegar
1/2 tsp salt
freshly ground black pepper to taste
1 med eggplant, peeled and cut into 1/2 inch dice
1 green pepper, diced
1 1/4 cup cornmeal
3 1/2 cup water
1/2 tsp salt
1 T butter
1/4 cup grated parmesan cheese
minced fresh parsley
1. To make the sauce, heat the olive oil in a large skillet over med heat. Add the garlic and red pepper flakes and cook 30 seconds. Do not let the garlic brown. Stir in the tomatoes and their juice. Mix the tomato paste with the vinegar, stir it in, then stir in the salt and pepper. Bring to a boil.
2. Add the eggplant and cover the pan. Cook 10 min, stirring occationally. Add the bell pepper, cover again, and cook 10 minutes more, or until the eggplant and pepper are tender. If the sauce is watery, remove the cover and boil a few minutes more until thickened. Keep warm while making the polenta.
3. To make the polenta, combine the cornmeal, water, and salt in a med heavy saucepan. Place over med-high heat and bring to a boil, whisking often. When cornmeal mixture begins to boil, whisk constantly until the polenta is the consistency of mashed potatoes and begins to pull away from the pot.
4. Remove from the heat and stir in the butter and cheese. Pour onto an oiled platter or large cutting board and let sit 20 min, or until firm enough to cut into 3-inch squares.
5. Place the polenta squares on serving plates and spoon piping hot eggplant sauce over them. Garnish with parsley.
Note: Leftover polenta squares can be refrigerated up to 4 days, then reheated in the oven when needed.