Maybe I mentioned last year how difficult it is to get recipes using fresh produce on here. For fear of fruits and vegetables going bad I’m always too hurried to make something out of them that no photos get taken, nothing gets recorded. For example, last weekend we went to farmer’s market and got squash, rainbow chard, and beautiful graffiti eggplants. Naturally, I quickly used up the chard in a salad and the squash in a casserole of sorts. This past weekend, we got a much bigger haul from my grandparents’ farm, and I’ve already gone through the bok choy, almost all the zucchini, and much of the tomatoes and cucumbers.
However, last week I was able to make one thing that was a little more interesting, and a good use of our resources. You see, my mother convinced me that buying twenty ears of corn for a party on Wednesday was absolutely necessary. I’d agreed with her, it didn’t seem too crazy a number–there were lots of people. Of course, when we (my brother and I) got to the store and I stood, checking over twenty ears of corn as one of the workers stared us down, I began to think that perhaps we didn’t need twenty ears. Well, I still got twenty ears, and we didn’t eat but half of them!
Thus, when I happened upon a recipe by the wonderful Yotam Ottolenghi involving such copious amounts of corn (that would also use up our graffiti eggplants), I was overjoyed. Naturally, it was fantastic. I never would have thought to make polenta from fresh corn, yet it worked so well, even though I had to cook it forever because I failed to read directions…
So, if you’re like me and have tons of leftover corn on the cob, I direct you towards this recipe. Originally, one is supposed to cook the kernels from the ears of corn and then use that liquid for the polenta. Since my corn was already cooked from a few days before I just used some extra water. Perhaps not as corny as it could have been, but still a good use for excess corn.
Now, part of the reason I’ve been so rapidly consuming vegetables is because…drumroll please…I’m leaving for Italy on Thursday! An amazingly generous present from my grandmother, I’ve been looking forward to it for nearly a year now. We’ll be in Rome and further North in Tuscany (Sienna, Florence, Pisa, Vinci, ect.). I’ll get lots of pictures, try some gelato, and tell you all about it when I return!
Fresh Corn Polenta with Eggplant Sauce
Adapted from Food52 which adapted it from Yotam Ottolenghi’s book, Plenty
3-4 tablespoons olive oil
2 pounds eggplant, stem ends cut off and sliced lengthwise
1 Tablespoon tomato paste
1/3 cup dry white wine
1 1/2 cups chopped peeled tomatoes (fresh or canned)
1/2 cup water
1 tsp sugar
salt, to taste
1 tablespoon chopped fresh oregano or 1tsp dried oregano
Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Place eggplants on a baking sheet greased with olive oil. Brush eggplants with 2-3 tablespoons of olive oil and bake on the middle rack of the oven for 30-40 minutes. You don’t want the eggplants to be entirely collapsed and for the insides, once cut into, to be still partly white.
Heat remaining tablespoon of olive oil in a large sauté pan on medium heat and add tomato paste and eggplant. Cook for a couple minutes, until the mixture is sizzling. Add the wine and cook until the liquid has mostly cooked off. Add the tomatoes, water, salt and oregano and cook for five more minutes. Set aside until ready to serve.
1 1/4 pounds of fresh corn kernels–from approximately 6 ears of steamed ears of corn
Up to 2 1/4 cups water
3 tablespoons butter, diced
7 ounces of feta, crumbled
1/4 teaspoon salt
Process the corn in a food processor until the kernels are very well broken down. Add some of the water as needed to keep it from getting too dry.
Transfer the mixture to a medium saucepan and add as much water as you deem necessary. I added the full amount by accident and was cooking the corn for at least 25 minutes. The suggested amount of time was 10 to 15 minutes on on low heat, or until the polenta reached the consistency of mashed potatoes. I never got mine that thick and they cooked for far longer, thus you should probably not add all 2 1/4 cups of water.
Mix in the butter, feta, salt and pepper. Cook for two minutes more or serve immediately and then serve.