Dana Treat – Treat Yourself

Summer on a Plate

Posted August 11, 2010

Polenta Baked with Corn, Tomatoes, and Basil
Adapted from Fields of Greens
Serves 6-8

Polenta (recipe follows)
1½-2 cups of your favorite tomato sauce
1 tbsp. unsalted butter
3 ears of corn, kernels shaved off the cob
¾ pound tomatoes, cored and seeded
1 tbsp. olive oil
1 cup fresh basil leaves, chopped
1 or 2 jalapeño chiles, seeded and finely chopped
¾ cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese

First make the polenta.  Make sure you have plenty of time to allow it to set up.

Heat the butter in a large skillet and add the corn.  Sauté over medium heat just until the corn is tender, about 5 minutes for very fresh corn.  Season with a sprinkling of salt.  While the corn is cooking, cut the tomatoes into large pieces.  Marinate the tomatoes in the olive oil with a ¼ teaspoon of salt and a few grinds of pepper.  Cool the corn and toss with the tomatoes, half the basil, and the chiles.  Add salt and pepper to taste.

Preheat the oven to 375ºF.  Pour the tomato sauce into the bottom of a 9×13-inch baking pan.  Arrange the polenta triangles upright in tows across the width of the dish, overlapping the triangles slightly; use all of the polenta.  Spoon the vegetables into the spaces between the polenta triangles, separating the rows as you go.  Sprinkle with the cheese.  Cover and bake for 25 minutes, then uncover and bake for 10 more minutes, until the gratin is bubbly.  Sprinkle on the remaining  basil and serve.


To keep the whole dish even more healthy, I skipped the butter and cheese in the actual polenta but you can add them for even more flavor.

6 cups water
1½ tsp. salt
1½ cups coarse cornmeal
¼ tsp. pepper
2 tbsp. unsalted butter
½ cup grated Parmesan cheese

Lightly oil a 9×13-inch baking dish and set aside.  Bring the water to a boil in a large saucepan.  Add the salt, then vigorously whisk in the cornmeal.  Bring it back to a boil, stirring all the while, then reduce the heat as low as it will go.  Cover the pan.  Stir every 5 minutes or so until the polenta is smooth, about 20 minutes all together.

Remove the pan from the heat and stir in the pepper, the butter, and the cheese.  Pour the hot polenta into the baking dish and set aside to cool.  Once it is cool, cover and refrigerate to make the polenta even more firm.  Once cold, dump the whole thing out on a cutting board and cut it into 12 squares.  Cut each square into two triangles.

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