Thursday, July 23, 2015

Grilled Polenta with Maple and Berries

This is what happens when foodies try to reinvent the hoecake.  The recipe isn't much different than the one for fried leftover cornmeal mush on the back of the Alber's box.  You just grill it instead, which was the point of the Times article about grilling dessert.  Papa Smurf once told me about breakfasts similar to this when he was a boy during WWII and rationing limited your food choices.

For taste, this is definitely a better product than the johnnycakes of 200 years ago.  The slow-cooked polenta creates a creamy cake.  I happened to sub Greek yogurt for the mascarpone because I had an open container in the fridge.  Any creamy, soft, tangy dairy product complements this dish.  Whipped cream doesn't have enough body and comes across as too sweet once you put maple syrup over everything.  Vanilla pudding or ice cream might work, but I didn't try it.

This is a half-recipe version, which made four generous portions if you consider the whole barbecue meal I had before it.

2 C water
1/2 C cornmeal
1/2 tsp salt
1 Tb butter
vegetable oil
1 C mascarpone cheese
1 5oz (or close to it) container blueberries or other small berry
maple syrup

1.  In a small saucepan, bring water to a simmer.  Rain in the cornmeal, whisking as you go to prevent lumps.  Whisk in the salt.  Return to a simmer and cook over lowest heat, whisking occasionally to prevent scorching.  It's going to boil and spit like lava at you.  If it gets too hot, remove from heat briefly.  After about 20 minutes, it's going to get very thick and fall in clumps.  Remove from heat and stir in butter until melted.

2.  Grease and line with plastic wrap a small baking dish.  I used a 6" cake pan and it resulted in a thick cake.  An 8" would probably be acceptable, or a 6" skillet.  I wanted straight sides.  Pour the warm polenta into the dish and chill until firm, at least 1 hour.  This part can also be done a day ahead.
3.  When ready to serve, turn polenta out and remove plastic wrap.  Either spray both sides with oil if you have a mister or lightly brush on a thin layer of vegetable oil to reduce sticking on the grill.  Cut into serving-sized wedges and place on preheated grill.  The polenta is cooked; this part is to warm it and give it that charred crunch on the outside.  It will probably also pick up flavors from whatever you had on the grill earlier.
4.  After about two minutes (depending on the heat of your grill), carefully flip the cakes with a flat spatula.  You only get one flip, and the cakes are fragile.  If they came out lighter than you want, let them stay longer for the other side.

5.  To serve, place one or two wedges on a plate.  Top with a dollop of mascarpone and a handful of berries.  Drizzle with syrup and serve warm.

Difficulty rating  π

No comments:

Post a Comment

I got tired of having to moderate all the spam comments and put back the verification. Sorry if it causes hassles.