Tuesday, 29 May 2012

Polenta Pie

For dinner last night I used a recipe given to me by my friend Sam.  Sam, like myself grew up in a family where meat played a pretty big role in the dinners that crossed her table.  Since meeting her future husband Ryan, she's adopted a vegetarian lifestyle and hasn't looked back since.  I asked Sam for some sample meals that she and Ryan enjoy and she was sweet enough to send over 3 recipes that they love...one for each breakfast, lunch, and dinner.  I've posted all three below (because they were all so, so good!), but I've included the pictures and some comments on the dinner recipe for polenta pie. 

Here's what Sam had to say:


One of our favourite breakfast go-to’s is a frittata. The best part about them is that you can throw in any leftover vegetables you have in the fridge and they always taste delicious. Frittata’s are also satisfying to eat for lunch or dinner when paired with a big green salad.

This recipe is from PLENTY by Yotam Ottolenghi, which is a vegetarian cookbook with beautiful, big photographs of scrumptious food that will get your mouth watering. The book is divided into chapters like “The Mighty Eggplant,” “Green Things” and “Funny Onions,” instead of your typical Soup, Salad, and Entree headings, which is a clever way of showcasing the ingredients that are at the heart of his dishes.

Smoky Frittata

1 small cauliflower, cut into medium florets
6 eggs
4 tbsp creme fraiche
2 tbsp Dijon mustard
2 tsp sweet smoked paprika
3 tbsp finely chopped chives
5 oz smoked scamorza, grated (similar to smoked mozzarella)
2 oz mature cheddar
salt and black pepper
2 tbsp olive oil

Simmer the cauliflower in a large pan of boiling salted water for only 4 to 5 mins, or until semi-cooked. Drain and dry.

Preheat the oven to 375. Break the eggs into a large bowl. Add the creme fraiche, mustard and paprika and whisk well, making sure the eggs and creme fraiche are thoroughly blended. Stir in the chives and 3/4 of the cheeses, and season well with salt and pepper.

Heat up the olive oil in a large ovenproof frying pan. Fry the cauliflower for about 5 mins, or until golden brown on one side. Pour over the egg mixture and use a fork to spread the cauliflower evenly in the pan. Cook on medium heat for about 5 mins.

Scatter the remaining cheeses on top, then carefully transfer the pan to the oven. Cook for 10 to 12 mins, or until the frittata is set.

Remove from the oven and let rest for 2 to 3 minutes before cutting into wedges. Eat immediately, with a peppery green salad.


Lunch for me is usually leftovers from dinner the night before, but lately I love eating pasta or grain salads with tons of veggies and a light lemon dressing. I think I could eat this israeli couscous salad every day for lunch and never get sick of it. If you’ve never had israeli couscous before you must try it. Immediately.

Israeli Couscous with Arugula, Tomatoes and Feta

1-½ cup Israeli Couscous
1 teaspoon Kosher Salt, Divided
3 cups Water
1 whole Lemon, Juiced
⅓ cups Olive Oil
4 slices Scallions, Thinly Sliced
2 cups Arugula, Thinly Sliced
1 pint Grape Tomatoes, Halved
¼ pounds Feta Cheese, Diced
¼ cups Flat-leaf Parsley, Chopped

In a stockpot, bring the couscous, ½ teaspoon of the salt, and the water to a boil. Turn the heat down to low. Cover & cook for 8 minutes, or until most of the water is absorbed.

When the couscous is cooked, drain it in a colander and rinse it with cool water. Set it aside.

Pour the lemon juice into a large bowl. Drizzle in the olive oil and whisk, adding the scallions and the remaining ½ teaspoon of salt.

Just before serving, add the arugula, tomatoes, feta cheese, and parsley to the couscous. Toss with the olive oil-lemon juice dressing. Season with pepper and serve.


The cookbook that gets the most use in our house is The New Moosewood Cookbook by Mollie Katzen, which is filled with easy-to-make recipes, charming drawings and hand lettering. This polenta pie was one of the first recipes we made from this cookbook and is one that I will turn to again and again because of it’s satisfying, crispy polenta crust and the open-ended possibilities for toppings.

1 1/2 cups coarse cornmeal
1 teaspoon salt
1 1/2 cups cold water
2 cups boiling water (in a saucepan)
A little olive oil

1 tablespoon olive oil
1 small onion, thinly sliced
1/2 cup thinly sliced bell pepper
10 mushrooms, sliced
1 small zucchini, thinly sliced
5 to 6 medium cloves garlic, thinly sliced
2 teaspoons dried (or 2 tablespoons minced fresh) basil
1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
Freshly ground black pepper
1/4 pound mozzarella, grated
2 small (or 1 medium-sized) ripe tomato, sliced

Combine cornmeal, salt, and cold water in a small bowl. Have the boiling water on the stove in a saucepan, and add the cornmeal mixture, whisking. Cook about 10 minutes over low heat, stirring frequently, It will get very thick. Remove from heat, and let cool until handleable.

Preheat the oven to 375°F. Oil a 10-inch pie pan. Add the polenta, and use a rubber spatula and/or wet hands to form it into a smooth, thick crust over the bottom and sides of the pan. Brush the surface with olive oil, and bake uncovered for 45 minutes.
While the crust bakes, heat 1 tablesoon olive oil in a medium-sized skillet. Add the onion, and sauté for 5 to 8 minutes, or until it begins to soften. Add the bell pepper, mushroom,s and zucchini, and saute utnil everything is tender, but not too soft. (Use your own judgment. There are no rules!) Stir in the garlic, herbs, and some black pepper, and sauté just a few minutes more.
Turn up the oven to broiling temperature. Sprinkle half the cheese onto the bottom of the baked crust (OK if the crust is still hot), and add the tomato slices. Spread the sautéed mixture over the tomatoes, and sprinkle the remaining cheese on top. Broil until brown (about 5 minutes) and serve hot.

Whew! How amazing do all of these sound?  I can tell you that the Israeli couscous (which incidentally, I had never tried) was fantastic and the salad has become a lunch staple over the last few weeks.  The polenta pie was delicious.  It was filling, and the last minute broil gave it a nice crunch that contrasted the softness of the "pie". 

Chopped Veggies

Polenta Crust-So easy to make!

Dining Al Fresco!

Tomato/Parmesean Cheese Layering

A little slice of heaven

Dessert-Berries and Cream

No comments:

Post a Comment