You might notice it’s been a little quiet around Little Fig this month. It’s not because I’ve forgotten you all, oh no! Quite the contrary, in fact. There’s been lots of recipe testing, culinary forays and inspiration. There’s more on that later, I promise. Until then, I leave you by sharing a few of my favorite things from April, including this (no stirring!!) fresh and oh-so-tasty polenta dish.
The vintage shoes at Sea of Shoes here (the ones covered in clouds are my favorites)
These pretty little plates I picked up from Montréal
The gorgeous Strawberry Fields pie from this shop in Dallas
The paper sculptures of Peter Gentenaar
… and this view from the Monterey Bay Aquarium
…see you in May!
Baked Polenta with White Beans + Spicy Greens
Adapted from New York Times – Recipes for Health
Hands-On Time: 15 minutes
Total Time: 1 ½ to 2 hours
Serves 4 – 6
Gluten-free, all natural, vegetarian
For the Polenta:
4 cups / 500 ml water
1 cup / 160g coarse ground cornmeal (polenta-style)
1 teaspoon salt
3 tablespoons unsalted butter or olive oil
1 cup / 4 oz fontina cheese, shredded
For the Beans + Greens:
4 cups arugula, or other zesty leafy green
1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
2 cups cooked white beans (or about one 15 oz can, drained and rinsed)
1/4 cup / 30 ml dry white wine (optional), or liquid from cooking beans, or vegetable broth
1 tablespoon olive oil
2 large garlic cloves, sliced
Salt + pepper to taste
Place a rack in the upper third of the oven and preheat to 350 F / 175 C
In an 8×8-inch baking sheet, or a 2 qt baking dish, stir together water, coarse cornmeal, and salt. The cornmeal will sink to the bottom of the pan and the water will turn a bit cloudy. Place in the oven to bake for 45 minutes. Remove from the oven and stir in butter or olive oil. Return to the oven to bake for 15 minutes.
Polenta will be firm with a dry/cracked top when fully baked. Remove from the oven and follow instructions per the below based on the style of polenta you want…
For soft polenta: Stir in cheese immediately after removing from oven, then allow to cool for about 15 minutes before serving.
For slightly firmer polenta: Stir in cheese immediately after removing from oven, then allow to cool for about 30 minutes before serving.
For stiff polenta (the kind you can slice, like the photo!): Remove polenta from oven, allow to cool at room temperature for 30 minutes, then place into fridge for at least 1 hour (or up to 24 hours if making in advance). Remove from refrigerator and slice into wedges. Sprinkle cheese evenly over slices and broil in your oven until cheese is melted and slightly brown & polenta is heated through.
For ‘Beans + Greens’
Heat a large frying pan on medium for 1 minute and add olive oil. Heat oil for 30 seconds, then add garlic and allow to cook until fragrant and lightly colored (about 1 minute).
Turn heat up to medium-high and add greens (be sure they are very dry to avoid spattering oil). Saute greens for about 1 minute, until they have wilted. Add salt, pepper, crushed red pepper flakes, and wine or other liquid and allow to cook for another 30 seconds. Add beans and remove from heat, stirring to combine.
Spoon over polenta and serve with freshly grated Parmesan cheese (optional).
Think this looks delicious? Try these recipes, too: