This is my first decent attempt to cook something with polenta. I remember back in university I tried to cook it but turned out disastrous. After that I was terrified cooking it again. A while ago I stumbled upon this recipe of the blog Blogging over Thyme and I was super excited to try it. I changed it slightly and decided to challenge myself even more; to cook the polenta rounds from scratch. And trust me it is not as much work as it looks! It is fresh and super tasty, but also suitable for parties. If you try this recipe, please let me know at the comments below.
Prep time: 10 minutes, Cooking time: 30 minutes, Total time: 1 hour, Yields 8-10 servings
for the red pepper spread:
3 large red bell peppers
1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
6-8 cloves of roasted garlic, roughly chopped
100gr feta cheese, crumbled
Some fresh thyme + more for garnishing
freshly ground black pepper
for the polenta:
250gr of polenta
1, 1 liter of water
extra virgin olive oil for brushing
Preparation of pepper spread: Preheat your oven at 180°C . Place the peppers in a roasting pan and allow them to soften completely on all sides for about 15 minutes. Remember to rotate them every couple minutes.
Transfer the peppers into a bowl and allow to cool until they are comfortable to touch. Remove the stems, seeds and skin. Slice the peppers into thick slices and place them in a large bowl with the olive oil, roasted garlic and thyme. Allow this mixture to marinate for 20 minutes while you prepare the polenta rounds.
Preparation of polenta: You want the polenta to be firm, so boil 1, 1 liter of water in a pan adding a ¾ teaspoon of sea salt. Boil the polenta in low heat for about 10 minutes stirring constantly. After it has boiled, transfer it in a shallow dish lined with plastic foil, letting it cool completely. After it has cooled off, take a small glass/cup and make round shapes.
Brush both sides of the polenta rounds with olive oil. Heat a large grill pan over medium-high heat. Grill the polenta rounds for about 3-4 minutes on each side, flipping them carefully with a spatula. Remove the polenta rounds, placing them on a platter and sprinkling them with some sea salt. Let them cool slightly while you finish preparing the pepper spread.
Remove the strips of roasted red pepper from the oil, allowing most of the oil to drip off. Place the strips in a small food processor and pulse them until they are roughly chopped. Transfer to a medium bowl, add the roughly chopped garlic cloves, and add in the crumbled feta. Sprinkle for more taste with salt and pepper.
Take each piece of grilled polenta and add a large spoonful of pepper spread. Garnish with fresh thyme leaves. Serve immediately.