Thursday, September 20, 2012

Peperonata & Polenta

From the Mariquita Farm newsletter, compliments of chef Jonathan Miller.

Red PeppersYou can't go through pepper season without making peperonata a few times. So versatile, you can put perperonata on pizza, in tarts, on bread, eat it by itself, or put it over polenta like it's described here. I love my version of polenta, but feel free to make a more traditional style, just with water, and serve it that way. On the subject of peeling tomatoes - my rule is if you are wooing a lover, peel and seed your tomatoes; if you are being paid to make the dish, peel and seed them; if you are feeding anyone else, do whatever you want! Yum!

olive oil
3 sweet red peppers, any variety, julienned
2 tomatoes, chopped (peel if you like)
3 garlic cloves, minced or sliced
1 bay leaf
leaves from 6 branches thyme, chopped
2 c milk
1/2 c polenta

Heat some olive oil in a large skillet, then saute the peppers over high heat until softened, about 5 minutes. Add the tomatoes, bay leaf, thyme, garlic, and some salt and continue to cook over medium-low heat, until everything is nice and soft, about 10-15 minutes. At this point you can decide to leave it as is, checking seasonings of course, or raise the heat and reduce any remaining liquid to make it a more cohesive sauce. Your choice. Either way, make sure you like the way it tastes when you're done.
In a saucepan, heat the milk to a bare simmer with some salt. Add the polenta, whisking constantly, and continue to cook over low heat until it thickens to your liking, anywhere from 5 to 10 minutes, depending on how thick you like it. Check for salt.
Spoon the polenta onto a serving plate and top with the peperonata. Finish with some chopped parsley, some shaved cheese, balsamic vinegar, or another herb of choice. Serve warm.

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