19 May 2010

Grilled Polenta and Salsa

To accompany some spinach stuffed portobella mushrooms (decent picture did not exist before consumption) were these little guys. From my experience people want to try polenta because it sounds a little different, and it looks pretty, but then when they do, they are a little disappointed it lacks in flavor. I like polenta. It's made up of corn meal and is very similar to grits. No, they don't have much of a flavor, but it is a grain. You are supposed to add the flavor!!!

You can buy prepared polenta in most grocery stores now, it comes in a tube, similar to lets say sausage, but can usually be found on the shelves near the pasta and rice. I used plain for this recipe, but you'll often be able to find it with sun dried tomatoes, herbs, or dried in a box.

I've used dried before, and it's very easy to make, you simple boil it until it's done, stir and serve. However it's a little more time consuming if you want to form it into shapes and grill it as I've done here. You have to shape it into a log and refrigerate until stiff, then slice and grill. If you are like me, sometimes you just don't plan ahead that far. This is where the prepared polenta comes in handy. Slice and heat. As easy as that.

I enjoyed these, but I don't think they went over as well as they could have. Not that there was anything wrong with them, but I just think the main course of mushrooms stole the show. I would also prefer mine a little spicy, which I've reflected on the recipe below. I also used black olives instead of calamata which I shouldn't have done, you really need that distinct olivey-saltyness the calamatas have - but they are freakin' expensive down here and I wasn't willing to shell out $5 for a little jar of them.

If you prepare the polenta yourself, you will also have an opportunity to season it with herbs or spices, which would give it a whole new dimension. If you haven't tried it, you should, just remember, it will taste like however you make it taste.

Even if you aren't a fan of polenta, make the salsa anyway. It's very flavorful and would be great on anything from fish tacos, to burgers, to chips.

Grilled Polenta Crackers with Roasted Pepper Salsa
Printable Recipe
Adapted from Rachael Ray, 30 Minute Meals: GetTogethers
  • 1 tube, 24 ounces, prepared polenta, plain or sun-dried tomato flavor, cut into 1/2-inch slices
  • 1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil, eyeball it
  • 3 roasted red peppers, drained well (1 - 16oz. jar)
  • 1/2 cup calamata black olives, pitted
  • 2 tbsp capers
  • 3/4 cup flat-leaf parsley, a couple of handfuls
  • 1/2 red onion
  • 1 jalapeno pepper, seeded
  • 1 clove garlic
  • 1/2 tsp red pepper flakes
  1. Preheat grill pan to high.
  2. Slice polenta and brush lightly with oil. Grill 2 or 3 minutes on each side to score the cakes and warm them.
  3. Chop all ingredients finely or use a food processor. Top polenta with spoonfuls of salsa and serve.

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