9.22.14
ratatouille polenta recipe

As one season ends and another begins, we are making a mad dash to get our final fill of our favorite summer recipes. On that short list is this beautiful and delicious polenta recipe by Jodi of What’s Cooking Good Looking. We’re bidding a fond farewell to all the summer flavors we love by whipping up this savory seasonal dish with eggplant, zucchini, basil and juicy grape tomatoes. Jodi, a professional natural foods chef, knows to only pick the freshest and finest of ingredients for her concoction. Send off summer in style and get ready to embrace all new fall recipes…

This time of year in my corner of the world, the corn and tomatoes have been plentiful and so tasty. I am always looking for new ways to prepare summer vegetables, and I recently came across an Ottolenghi recipe for polenta that uses fresh corn kernels instead of packaged processed dried kernels. I was so intrigued and couldn’t wait to try it out. Well… after my first try I was hooked and it became a staple in my kitchen all summer, along with this vegetable ratatouille. Fortunately for me, I live in an area where I have plenty of local, organic, GMO-free corn to choose from, but I do feel it is worth mentioning that is it worthwhile to seek out GMO-free or organic corn. Not only is it better for your health and the environment, but it tastes infinitely better too.

Fresh-Corn Polenta and Vegetable Ratatouille
serves 4

Ingredients:

 For the fresh corn polenta:
6 ears of GMO-free corn, kernels removed 
2 cups of water
1/4 tsp of sea salt
1 Tbsp of ghee or vegan/regular butter
1/4 cup of manchego cheese (optional)
fresh cracked black pepper
 
For the ratatouille:
A couple of Tbsp of sunflower oil (or another high-heat oil)
1 medium sized eggplant, large dice (cut in half lengthwise, then cut in half again, and diced 1/2″)
1 large red onion, large dice
5 cloves of garlic, smashed and thinly sliced
a pinch or two of red pepper flakes
salt and pepper
1 yellow zucchini, large dice
1 green zucchini, large dice
about 15 grape tomatoes (the larger ones), cut in half
1/4 cup of white wine, or mirin
10 basil leaves, finely chopped

Directions:

Start by making the corn polenta:
 
Place the corn in a large saucepan, and cover with about 2 cups of water (just enough water until the kernels are covered). Bring to a boil, reduce to a simmer and cook for 10 minutes until the kernels are tender. 
 
Using a slotted spoon or mesh strainer, remove the kernels and place them into a food processor or blender, keeping the liquid in the pot. Process the corn for about 2 minutes until you have a very smooth puree.
 
Return the puree to the same pot with the water and bring to a simmer. Simmer for about 20 minutes, and while the polenta is simmering start your ratatouille. 
 
Prepare the ratatouille:
 
Heat a tablespoon of the oil in a large cast-iron skillet over medium heat. Add the eggplant and cook for about 10 minutes until browning tender. If the eggplant has absorbed all the oil, add more so it does not stick to the bottom of the pan. Remove the eggplant and set aside. 
 
In the same pan, add a little more oil and the red onion. Cook for several minutes until the onion is soft and starting to brown. Then add the garlic, red pepper flakes. Cook for two minutes. 
 
Then add the yellow and green zucchini, and season with salt and pepper. Cook for about 5 minutes, and then add in the tomatoes. Cook for another 5 minutes, then add back the eggplant and stir to mix everything. 
 
Add the wine and cook for a few minutes until most of the wine has evaporated, and all of the vegetables are tender and cooked through. You should have a little bit of  “sauce” from the vegetables and wine left at the bottom of the pan. 
 
Finish the polenta, and assemble the dish:
 
Add the ghee and cheese (if your using), and stir until the ghee is melted. Divide the polenta between four bowls, and add some fresh cracked black pepper.
 

Spoon the ratatouille on top of the polenta and finish with the chopped basil. Serve warm.

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