Sunday, June 11, 2006

Polenta for Lunch

Who says impulse buying is bad!

Every once in a while you pick up something totally new when you go to the store, with no idea of what you plan to do with it. It kind of hangs around waiting for an inspiration that causes you to bring it out of the fridge and make it fantastic. Well such was the case with a roll of ready basil polenta. I have always liked the idea of polenta – I've just never gotten around to making it.

The day started on a completely different note - with tomatoes. Last week while I was at the bulk food store I came across a huge package of roma tomatoes. Their bright red color immediately made me think of slow roasting. It was rainy cold and yucky so what better day to turn the oven on and fill the house with warmth and yummy smells. Besides, they are a good thing to have in the fridge for a quick sauce or just on a cracker with some nice wine. Now everyone has their own recipe for slow roasting or oven drying, what ever you want to call it. I go for roasting because I don't dry the tomatoes out completely. I like them still moist and a bit soft, but not fresh tasting.

I had popped the tomatoes in the oven early in the morning and gone about my house work. It wasn’t long before the smell of garlic and oregano started to fill the place. Every time M or I passed through the kitchen it was an occasion to say “Wow that smells great!”

When noon time rolled around we went through the usual laundry list of what to have for lunch. Sandwich? No. Soup? No. Gee that smells good. Take out? No. Then - I swear a light bulb actually popped up over my head – the polenta jumped into my mind. An idea!

I grilled up medallions of the polenta topped them with a fresh basil leaf (who doesn’t always have fresh basil on hand, right?), a fragrant tomato right from the oven and some cheese. Whip the whole thing under the broiler to brown the cheese and you’ve got yourself something pretty special. Wow. Needless to say M and I were quite pleased with this little inspiration. It’s nice to have a special lunch once in a while were you actually eat something nice on a pretty plate, instead of something you just grab and eat with your hands.

In a larger portion, I liked this as a lunch, but it would hold its own quite well as a first course – or cut the polenta into bit size pieces and serve as an hors d'oeuvre.


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