Cheesy polenta with pan-fried chillies.
This post is part of the two-for-Tuesday blog carnival.
I picked up some anaheim chillies at the market this week. This might sound strange, living in Southern California and all, but I’d never actually cooked them, or really eaten them that much. Peppers just aren’t usually on my list of things that I’d go out of my way to eat or cook. But they looked so green and delicious, and I thought they might go nicely with the polenta that I’ve been having INSANE cravings for all week.
I get cravings. I should probably warn you about that. I’ve had this all my life (God knows what I’ll be like if I ever get pregnant), but they’re like pregnant woman cravings. I once drove for an hour at midnight just to find some kimchi. I’ve eaten nothing but banana bread for weeks, or asparagus, or sauerkraut, or salmon roll-ups with red onion and lemon juice. A few weeks ago it was pickled burdock. And right now it’s polenta. I can’t eat enough of it.
Medicinal herbs aren’t the only things that have a medicinal effect on the body. All food has an effect, though most foods are gentler in action (and therefore much safer to consume in large amounts). And corn is no exception. It regulates digestion, tonifies the adrenal glands (good for exhaustion), nourishes the heart, and increases sex drive. So polenta, being made of corn meal, will have all of the same properties. I always use organic corn, just because of the GMO issue– I don’t want that stuff anywhere near my body, let alone being consumed in copious amounts for weeks at a time.
Anyway, without further ado, I bring you this week’s experimentation-slash-double-whammy… *drumroll*
Cheesy polenta and pan-fried chillies.
1 cup polenta grits
3 cups water
1 cup cream
1 tsp salt
3 tbsp unsalted butter
1/4 cup grated parmesan
Bring the water to a boil. Add the salt, reduce to simmer, and slowly stir in the polenta. Reduce the heat until it is barely bubbling, and leave uncovered for 30 minutes, stirring occasionally. Stir in the cream, and simmer at the lowest heat for another 30 minutes.
Remove from heat, stir in 3 tb butter most of the parmesan, and pour into an ovenproof dish in which the polenta will be at LEAST 1 inch thick. Pour the rest of the parmesan over the top evenly, then refrigerate until cool and firm to the touch.
Cut into desired shapes (I cut mine into wedges) and either serve as-is, or put in the oven for 20 minutes at 400.
Pan-fried Anaheim Chillies (adapted from Bon Appetit)
4 anaheim chillies
4 cloves garlic
5 tbsp cooking oil (I used chicken fat leftover from roasting, but half butter and half olive oil would work really nicely too)
juice of 1 lemon
grated rind of 1 lemon
salt (I used Hawaiian black salt)
1 sprig each of basil and oregano (optional)
Get the pan nice and hot, then add the oil, salt and lemon rind. Saute the chillies on each side until the skin starts to blister. It shouldn’t take long. Once fully blistered, turn down the heat and add the garlic, shaking the pan occasionally. Add the lemon juice, and continue to cook for another couple of minutes, until the chillies are soft. Remove from heat, sprinkle with salt, and garnish with chopped basil and oregano.
I served the polenta and chillies with some leftover roast chicken that I shredded and sauteed with garlic, onions, dried oregano and lemon peel, and the roasted tomatoes (a ubiquitous presence in this house come summertime). It would also be good with poached eggs for breakfast. Guess what I’m having for breakfast tomorrow….