Serves 10-12 / While polenta is often served soft and creamy, it can also set to a firm texture that can be sliced and grilled, pan-fried, or broiled. In this versatile recipe, whole corn kernels, onion, and garlic lend the polenta texture and flavor. These tasty squares can stand on their own with a smattering of cheese, or they can serve as a backdrop to a variety of toppings, as indicated below.
1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
½ medium yellow onion, finely chopped
1 large clove garlic, chopped
1 cup corn kernels
4 cups low-sodium vegetable broth or water, divided
1 cup polenta or corn grits
Optional toppings (choose one):
Grated Pecorino Romano cheese
Sauteed spinach and mushrooms
Beans and braised kale
Marinara sauce and ricotta cheese (bake until bubbly)
Pesto sauce, chevre, and sliced fresh tomatoes
Black beans, sliced avocado, fresh salsa or diced tomato, dollop of sour cream, and chopped cilantro
1. Heat a large saucepan over medium heat. Add oil and heat several seconds; add onion and sauté until translucent, stirring frequently, about 7 minutes. Add garlic and sauté 1 minute, then stir in corn kernels. Add 2 cups broth or water and bring to boil. In a separate bowl, whisk together cornmeal and remaining 2 cups broth or water. Add cornmeal mixture to boiling liquid, stirring constantly to avoid clumping. Return to boil, then reduce heat to simmer. Cook, stirring frequently to achieve smooth consistency, 20-30 minutes. Season to taste.
2. Once thick and smooth, transfer polenta to a lightly oiled 9×13-inch dish, smoothing flat with a spatula, if needed. Chill in refrigerator 1 hour or until firm. Cut into squares and grill, pan-fry, or broil until golden brown on the outside and heated through. Serve with topping of choice.
PER SERVING: 95 cal, 16% fat cal, 2g fat, 0g sat fat, 0mg chol, 2g protein, 18g carb, 1g fiber, 57mg sodium