The first time I made this recipe I thought it was nothing special. That is to say, it was really good but I wasn’t about to share it on le blog. And it has a strange story; or it’s strange to me anyway.
I was flipping through Gault et Millau magasin, not really paying close attention to the articles themselves, and waiting for something to catch my eye. Gault et Millau has a feature column: chefs at home. You can guess what it’s about. A chef, usually with a Michelin star and a few G&M “toques” opens his home to the reading public and shows us what they like to eat when they aren’t dreaming up new and excited recipes to be featured in their restaurants.
Anyway, this one feature included a recipe of what I thought was simple polenta with capers and lemon. I went back and paid more attention to the recipe, to find that it wasn’t polenta but couscous. Attention fail?
I’m not sure what happened to my couscous. I think it got lost in the move and I never purchased another pack. So I stuck to my original plan and made it with polenta.
I couldn’t stop with just polenta and capers. I added some roasted Mediterranean vegetables in the spirit of the polenta and made a dinner that is filling, hearty, vegetarian, and satisfying.
Polenta for me is one of those comfort foods you rarely think about. It goes well with pretty much everything, and a little bit goes a very long way. One serving is about 60 grams dry, and if you’re adding a bunch of vegetables on top, there’s more than enough for two meals.
If you’ve never made polenta before, you’ll be surprised how much it expands. Avoid buying polenta prepared in a tube. There are a few reasons for this: the first is that it’s not as good as dry polenta freshly prepared at home. The second is that I find the texture to be weird. And last, making polenta from scratch is super easy and you can control the ingredients inside.
One last word: There’s a tradition in France – or at least in my husband’s family – to back the polenta in the oven after making it in the pot. This firms up the polenta further and gives it a thicker texture. It’s not necessary, but I did it here so that the polenta could soak up the flavors of the roasting vegetables.
While this recipe nothing ground-breaking, it’s one of those meals that leaves you smiling. Comfort food. Revisited.
- 100-120g zucchini, sliced
- 75g eggplant, sliced
- 1 large slice yellow onion, about ¼ inch
- 100-120g broccoli, chopped into small pieces
- 2 clove garlic
- 1 tomato, sliced
- 2 tbspn olive oil, divided
- salt and pepper to taste
- 40g polenta
- 1½ tbspn capers
- handful of shredded cheese (I used Emmental)
- Preheat oven to 200°C/400°F. Find a baking dish and pour in 1 tablespoon of olive oil. Put all the vegetables except for the tomatoes in the dish and toss gently until coated with the olive oil. Season with salt and pepper to taste and toss again. Bake for about 15-20 minutes.
- Meanwhile, prepare the polenta. You want about 3-4 time as much water as polenta. Boil the water, salt, add polenta and stir. Let it cook for about 5 minutes and stir often. But be careful as polenta loves to spit while it’s on the stove and it’s hot. Add the capers into the polenta and stir.* Set aside
- When the veggies are almost done. Put the polenta in a baking dish (you can use the same one as the veggies, just empty it first) and smooth it out so that it’s even, the way you would with cake batter. Add the vegetables and some cheese and continue baking until the polenta has firmed and veggies are roasted. About 10-15 minutes.