Thursday, February 28

Polenta stack

For that dinner party you're having where you want to impress your vego friends by catering for them beautifully- or (if you're like me!) you want to impress the meat eaters with the fancy, tasty cool shit we vegetarians eat (ahem)! This dish doesn't take too much effort, given the wow factor (taste and look) that results. The polenta can be made ahead of time, as can the pesto, and, at this time of year you can make this almost entirely from your garden (if you didn't forget to plant capsicum... like us. doh.)

You need:
* Polenta
* 1 Whole large eggplant
* 2 x red capsicums
* Olive oil
* Pesto (If you've got basil - make your own)
* Bunch of English Spinach
* Half a spanish onion
* Knob of butter
* Salt & Pepper

* Make up a batch of polenta according to the instructions and put it in the fridge to set.
Note: I usually just boil polenta and water with a quarter teaspoon of veggie stock powder until it thickens - about 15 minutes, then put it in a baking paper lined tray top set in the fridge - I know there are all sorts of recipes calling for it to be boiled and constantly stirred for hours - but with the polenta I buy I've found that to be unnecessary.

* Slice your eggplant into 5mm thick rounds and cut capsicum into 5 pieces (4 sides and the bottom) coat in a thin layer of oil and sprinkle with a pinch of salt. Put them on baking trays evenly spaced and not overlapping in a hot oven. Make sure the capsicum is skin side up. Roast for 30 - 45minutes until they are nicely cooked and the capsicum skin is lifting off and going black. Peel capsicum skin off and discard.
* In a fry pan, fry your onion half in some oil for about 3 minutes until it's clear, add your spinach leaves (Stalks removed) and a small knob of butter and cover for a few minutes until the spinach is wilted.
* Carve the polenta into nice sized wedges and pop on plates. Spread a thin layer of pesto on top, then a slice of eggplant, a slice of capsicum and some wilted spinach. Do another eggplant slice with a smear of pesto on it and add another capsicum, spinach and finish with a final piece of eggplant. Garnish with a tiny drizzle of oil/ a decorative basil leaf/a sprig of thyme... and I'd serve this with a peppy fresh tomato salsa in summer and steamed asparagus in winter. Yum!



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