Friday, February 05, 2010

Baked Polenta

I have been in a book writing frenzy for the past couple of weeks. This means I have been eating breakfast and lunch at my desk. By mid to late afternoon it is not only time for a break but time to clean up the meal remnants that surround me: empty bowls that were once filled with oatmeal or yogurt and granola, coffee and tea mugs, plates with toast crumbs and orange peels.

When evening arrives, I am often too tired to think about dinner. But if I don't feed myself, no one will. This is why I pounced on a recipe for baked polenta in the book Jam Today by Tod Davies.

In case you're curious, I read Jam Today on my way to Chicago. It was a library book and I still couldn't help myself from dog-earing a recipe or two. If you are a fan of M.F.K. Fisher and truly great food writing, you must buy this book. It is exquisite -- I can't wait to have a copy of my very own. It will be the kind of book that ends up with water marks, little stains on the pages, maybe even a broken spine.

But I digress. In the book there is a simple, free form recipe for polenta layered with cheese and vegetable goodness. It goes sort of like this:
Make the polenta by combining 1 cup polenta, a quart of water, and a teaspoon of salt in an oven proof baking dish. Put in a 350 oven for 50 minutes. Remove from oven and stir in one tablespoon butter.
Next remove about one half of the polenta. Level the polenta left in the baking dish and layer away -- I added sauteed mushrooms, garlic, zucchini, spinach, and cheese. Carefully spread the remainder of the polenta back over the middle layer and return to the oven for 10 to 15 minutes till it is warm and bubbling and cooked through.
I had great intentions of serving this with some hearty tomato sauce spooned over it. But as I said, it was a big writing week. After many hours in front of the computer my visions of tomato sauce left me and were replaced with a big spoonful of sour cream and a smattering of crunchy salt and pepper.
And you know what? It was still good.


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Shelley (Pink House) said...

Anne - If I want to read one of MFK Fischer's books, which one would you recommend first?
(Looks like you've got some bad spam in your blog comments.)

lizkarwags said...

Anne - thank you for sharing this delicious and easy polenta method. It was the perfect mid-week dinner ... and lunch the next day. Sorry we haven't connected yet in 2010 in person. Am enjoying following your work and cooking through your blog. Fondly, Liz