Wednesday, 17 November 2010

Olive Polenta with Roasted Mediterranean Vegetables


In this recipe, each of these lovely vegetables retain their individual identity yet combine to create the flavour of the Mediterranean.   The polenta is made in advance, then quickly fried to give a crispy outside and soft middle.

Serve with a tomato and olive sauce - I'll be posting that recipe next time!

Ingredients                                                                         
Serves 4 people

Polenta:
110g (4oz) maizemeal (polenta)
20 fl.oz (1 pt) boiling water
1 vegetable stock cube (Kallo Organic)
28g (1oz) dairyfree margarine
28g (1oz) black olives, stoned and chopped
Salt and Pepper
2 red onions
1 red pepper
1 orange or yellow pepper
1 aubergine
1 or 2 courgettes
Extra-virgin Olive Oil

Polenta is a traditional Italian ingredient made from ground maize and is a wonderful golden-yellow colour.  It’s so easy to cook in the microwave and can be made with water or vegetable stock for extra flavour.





First make your polenta.  Put the maizemeal into a bowl.
Dissolve the stock cube in a jug of boiling water and add to the maizemeal. Stir well to make a smooth liquid. 


Add the margarine and mix well.

Microwave for 10 minutes, removing the bowl every 2 or 3 minutes to give the mixture a really good stir as it thickens.



Finally add the chopped olives.


Now you need to spread out the polenta to set.  I either use a baking tin (approx 18cm x 28cm) or a large dinner plate,  greased with a little olive oil.  Pour in the polenta and level neatly with a knife.

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Cool, then leave to set in the fridge.  This can be made well in advance and stored in the fridge until needed.


When you’re ready to eat, preheat the oven to 220C. 

Prepare the vegetables.  Cut the red onions into about eight segments and place in a bowl with a tablespoon of olive oil and some salt and pepper. Mix together then transfer to a large roasting tray.

Then cut the peppers, aubergine and courgettes into pieces about 1” square.  Mix in a bowl with a tablespoon of olive oil and season with salt and pepper.  Transfer to the roasting tray and spread out neatly.


Place in your preheated oven and bake for about 30 - 35 minutes. Check the vegetables once or twice, turning them over so they become evenly browned.

Meanwhile cut the polenta into four oblong slices  (or 8 equal segments, if using a circular plate) 

Heat a little olive oil in a frying pan and fry the polenta slices for about 5 minutes on each side until brown and crispy.

(Alternatively, brush the polenta slices with olive oil and grill on both sides until brown and crispy)

Transfer to the oven to keep warm whilst you fry the remaining slices.

Serve the polenta slices with the roasted vegetables and a
generous spoonful of homemade tomato and olive sauce.  

Sprinkle some chopped fresh basil leaves on top.





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