Thursday, July 15, 2010

Baked Polenta and Flourless Chocolate Cake

When the sun won't shine, make polenta.

Spending the past week on Fire Island has been a dream. The narrow, bamboo lined pathways that crisscross the island divide it into a beachy secret garden of sorts. Little bicycle bells ping, waves crash, and breezes blow gently here. Heaven.

Chris and I joke that whenever we go on vacation it rains. We once abandoned sweltering Manhattan for a day at Jones Beach only to sit on a boardwalk bench braving frigid hurricane winds and a spiky mist. Bound in our beach towels, with squinted eyes, and chattering teeth we gazed out at an empty beach, maybe if we waited ten more minutes the clouds would break. Any minute now....a-n-y-m-i-n-u-t-e....

Five minutes later we were eating mediocre pizza and back on the train. 

This week, with all it's gloriously lazy afternoons and sloppy ice cream cones, has been overcast with a chance of showers, every day. Since beach bumming isn't an option, my friend Anna and I whipped up some baked polenta yesterday, a bright, sunny dish with eggplant, zucchini, tomatoes and goat cheese. It's summer on a plate. We followed it up with some flour-less chocolate cake and a screening of Body Double

In August Chris and I have a trip to Nag's Head, North Carolina planned, I'll hope for sun but this time it might be cloudy with a chance of tar balls. 

Baked Polenta

1 cup Polenta
1 zucchini, sliced into thin rounds
1 eggplant, sliced into thin rounds
3 medium sized tomatoes
1/2 cup goat cheese
2 cloves garlic, minced
salt + pepper

Cook 1 cup of polenta according to the cooking instructions on the package along with 1/4 cup of grated Parmesan cheese stirred in at the end. Pour into an 11 X 7 casserole pan, smooth to even out and chill in the refrigerator until set.

Pre-heat the oven to 400 degrees.

In a saute pan, heat up a few tablespoons of olive oil and cook the garlic until fragrant, then add and cook in batches, the eggplant, zucchini and tomatoes until golden and tender. Season with salt and pepper as you go. 

When the polenta is firm you can leave as is and layer the vegetables on top or, turn it out and slice into 1/4 slices to be layered with the vegetables like a lasagna. Season with salt and pepper as you go, toss in a little more garlic or some fresh herbs if you like, top with crumbled goat cheese and bake for twenty minutes until the cheese gets little golden caps. Serve hot.

It also really great for breakfast with a poached egg on top, Anna's brilliant idea.

Flourless Chocolate Cake from Gourmet Magazine

Downtown Fire Island at Night

1 comment:

  1. I've never cooked with polenta, but your veggie bake sounds delicious. I was raised in NC and adore the Carolina coast..hope it doesn't rain on y'all!