Sunday, June 17, 2012

RECIPE: Bright Greens on a Bed of Creamy Polenta

This is a nice way to make a simple vegetarian main dish of the greens.  It works for any variety of greens – spinach, chard, kale would all be good here.  Cook the greens during the last couple of minutes of cooking the polenta so everything is ready together.

4 cups water
1 cup polenta (coarse corn meal)
Salt to taste
Up to 1 cup grated cheese (fontina, sharp cheddar, or parmesan)
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
5 to 8 cups (packed) small greens (about 3/4 pound) stemmed and chopped, as necessary
1 teaspoon minced or crushed garlic

1.      Pour 3 cups water into a medium-sized saucepan. Add about 1/2 teaspoon salt, and bring to a boil. Meanwhile, place the polenta in a bowl with 1 cup cold or room-temperature water, and stir until it is completely moistened.

2.      When the water boils, turn down the heat to a simmer, and spoon in the wet polenta. It will blend in instantly. Cook over medium-low heat, stirring slowly and often with a wooden spoon, until it turns creamy-thick (about 20 minutes). Remove from heat and stir in the cheese. Once the cheese has melted in, taste to adjust the salt, if desired.

3.      Place a large, deep skillet over medium heat. After about a minute, add the oil, and swirl to coat the pan. Toss in the greens and a dash or two of salt, turn the heat up to medium-high, and stir-fry, turning with tongs, for about 30 seconds. Sprinkle in the garlic, and cook, turning with tongs for another minute or so, until just slightly wilted and very bright green.

4.      Serve the greens on top of the polenta.  Makes about 4 servings.

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