#meatlessmonday Recipes

#Meatless Monday: Sweet Corn Polenta with Eggplant Sauce

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I am a huge fan of honest food blogs.  Honestly, the dishes I prepare don’t always taste awesome, and sometimes I forget an ingredient two. Sometimes my cakes don’t slide perfectly out of my greased and floured pan.  And, I honestly don’t believe that I am the only home cook who experiences these problems.  So, when I read a food blog and I find all of their recipes turned out perfect and amazing and deserving of the home cook equivalent of a Michelin star then I am a little incredulous.  Of course I want to know about all of the great dishes, but I want to hear the honest accounts of the over-salted gratin or the pie crust that would just not cooperate.

This brings me to why I love Amelia Morris and her very honest food blog, Bon Appétempt.  Her recipes are always interesting and include her very honest and detailed account of the preparation of the dish.  Mostly everything she posts looks amazing, but she doesn’t hesitate to include the nitty-gritty details about dishes gone awry.  I love to read about dishes gone awry!  How else would I know to avoid using a cheese grater on the potatoes if I’m attempting homemade gnocchi?  Without honest accounts of our failed cooking attempts, we are doomed to repeat our kitchen disasters.  But this recipe isn’t a disaster at all.  For an incredibly rich tasting dish, it only has a few tablespoons of butter (and, ok, a pretty hefty amount of feta).  This was also my first time preparing an eggplant!  I can imagine the polenta base of this dish tasting wonderful paired with any number of vegetarian sauces, but the eggplant sauce was really simple and delicious.

Sweet Corn Polenta with Eggplant Sauce from Bon Appétempt

Ingredients
Eggplant Sauce
  • 2/3 cup vegetable oil
  • 1 medium eggplant, cut into 3/4-inch dice
  • 2 tsp tomato paste
  • 1/4 cup white wine
  • 1 cup chopped, peeled tomatoes (fresh or canned)
  • 6 1/2 tbsp water
  • 1/4 tsp sugar
  • 1 tbsp chopped oregano (I didn’t have fresh oregano so I used about 1/2 tbsp of dried oregano instead)
Polenta
  • 6 ears of corn, shucked
  • 2 1/4 cups water
  • 3 tbsp butter
  • 7 oz feta, crumbled
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • Black pepper
Directions

Heat up the oil in a large saucepan and fry the eggplant on medium heat until nicely brown.  Drain off as much oil as you can and discard it.  Add the tomato paste to the pan and stir with the eggplant.  Cook for 2 minutes, then add the wine and cook for 1 minute.  Add the chopped tomatoes, water, salt, sugar and oregano and cook for a further 5 minutes to get a deep-flavored sauce.  Set aside; warm it up when needed.

Remove the leaves and silk from each ear of corn. Using a sharp knife, carefully stand each ear of corn upright in a bowl and shuck off the kernels.  You want to have 1 1/4 lbs of kernels (6 ears of corn was perfect).  Place the kernels in a medium saucepan and cover them with the water.  Cook for 12 minutes on a low simmer.  Use a slotted spoon to lift the kernels from the water and into a food processor; reserve the cooking liquid.  Process them for  quite a few minutes, to break as much of the kernel case as possible.  Add some of the cooking liquid if the mixture becomes too dry to process. Return the corn paste to the pan with the cooking liquid and cook, while stirring, on low heat for 10 to 15 minutes, or until the mixture thickens to a mashed potato consistency.  Stir in the butter, the feta, salt and some pepper and cook for a further 2 minutes.  Taste and add more salt if needed.  Serve the polenta in bowls topped with the warm eggplant sauce (and, if you’re like me, some additional feta crumbles).

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