Sunday 3 February 2013

February 2013 - Fried Polenta Panzanella

There are a number of recipes in this issue that I plan to make and this is the second one that I have made so far. The first was a easy little salad that I will post at a later date. 

The recipe on the front cover looks very good, even for a non-seafoodie like me. I doubt that I would make it though. I will, I think, make the quinoa risotto with prawns, oregano and tomatoes. It looks and sounds so good. Plus I am getting a good supply of cherry tomatoes from my plants. I even have everything to make it as a bought a bag of Australian frozen prawns a while ago so it is time to start using them. 

I really also like the sound of the lamb biryani rolls on the next page. Something a little different than the standard sausage rolls. If you serve it with a nice salad they would make a good meal. 

I decided to make the fried polenta panzanella on Thursday night for dinner. It was quick and easy and very, very good. It made a huge amount of polenta so next time I would make a smaller amount. I put some of the leftovers in the freezer before frying. I am not sure if they will be okay once thawed but thought it was worth trying. Next time I would make them thinner as well. I think that they would have been great if they had been half the thickness. I would also love to try baking it, although it wouldn't be the same. I served it with just a drizzle of balsamic rather than making a dressing. It was very good for a light meal. 

Fried Polenta Panzanella

3 cups ( 750ml) vegetable stock or water
1½ cups (250g) instant polenta
2⁄3 cup ( 50g) finely grated parmesan 
½ cup (125ml) extra virgin olive oil 
1 tbs balsamic vinegar 
600g vine-ripened tomatoes, chopped (I used a punnet of cherry tomatoes, halved)
2 cups basil leaves, torn 
½ cup (60g) Sicilian olives, chopped (I used kalamata as I don't like green)
1 Lebanese cucumber, chopped in chunks
125g ball mozzarella, torn (I used bocconcini)
Rocket (my addition)

Grease a 20cm x 30cm lamington pan or baking tray well. 
Place the stock in a saucepan over medium-high heat and bring to the boil. Add the polenta in a slow steady stream, whisking constantly for 2 minutes or until very thick. Remove from heat, then stir in parmesan and season. Spread the polenta mixture into the lamington pan, then chill until set.
Cut into rounds with a small cookie cutter. Heat 2 tbsp oil in a large non-stick frypan over medium-high heat. Three or four polenta rounds and cook until golden and crisp. Repeat with the rest of the polenta with oil as needed. Drain on paper towel. Set aside. 
Toss tomato, basil, olives, cucumber, mozzarella and polenta in a large bowl, then drizzle with balsamic vinegar. 

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