Polenta with Kale and Oven-Dried Tomatoes

by elleryturner

I’ve never seen ‘Miracle on 34th Street,’ but I promised a friend that at some point in my week off of work I would crack open a bottle of wine, kick back on the couch, and watch it.  Instead, tonight I cracked open a bottle of wine, kicked back on the couch, and rented ‘Abduction’ with my friends Merritt and Anndel. Two out of three isn’t so bad…right?!  But, if you want to know what is bad, rent Abduction. 

Now for the not bad at all…my polenta with kale and oven-dried tomatoes.  I love roasting tomatoes – it creates a robust, tangy and tart flavor similar to sun-dried tomatoes, but without all the sodium, and without the price tag.  Plus, cherry tomatoes are often offered packaged by different brands at my local grocery store, and chances are high that one of these brands is on sale at any given time. 

And polenta…oh, polenta.  Being southern born and bred, I love anything that even slightly resembles grits.  Polenta is basically grits with a fancy name.  You can buy it pre-made in the produce section for roughly $4, or you can buy a bag of cornmeal for around $1.50 and make it yourself- with lots leftover to use for fying oysters, breading chicken, or making even more polenta.

To cook the polenta:

3 1/4 cup water

1 cup polenta

1 tsp salt

Bring water to a boil, add salt and whisk in polenta, turn heat down and simmer until thickened – stirring occasionally – for about 15 minutes.

Pour the polenta into a cake pan coated in cooking spray and let cool, then pop in the fridge to harden.  A great way to save some time is to cook the polenta while making dinner one or two days days before you plan to cook this particular meal.

Oven roasted tomatoes:

1 cup cherry tomatoes

1 tsp olive oil

Salt and Pepper

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Put tomatoes in a bowl, drizzle with olive oil, sprinkle with salt and pepper, and toss to coat.  Put tomatoes on a baking sheet and roast until they just start to burst – about 25 – 30 minutes.

Polenta with kale and oven roasted tomatoes (makes 2 servings):

4 squares of polenta (cooked and cooled)

1 cup tomatoes (oven-dried)

1 cup mushrooms

1/2 yellow onion, diced

1 clove garlic, minced

4 leaves kale, washed and torn into bite-sized pieces

2 eggs

1 tblsp parmesan cheese

1 tsp olive oil

Step 1: Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Place slices of polenta onto greased baking sheet and bake for 30 minutes, or until crisp on top.

Step 2: Heat saute pan on medium, add a splash of olive oil and saute garlic until fragrant – about 3 minutes.  Add onions, mushrooms, and kale, and saute about 10 minutes, or until onions are translucent and mushrooms are brown.

Step 3: Heat a non-stick pan to medium, spray with cooking spray, and fry eggs just until the white is no longer translucent.

Step 4:  Assemble by placing the polenta on your plates, followed by the parmesan cheese, oven-dried tomatoes, and vegetable saute.  Top with fried eggs.

So, I love to tell you all how to cook, but it’s not often that I tell you how to eat…in this case, let me recommend that you break the yoke, crush the tomatoes and let them combine into a rich, creamy, tangy sauce for the dish.  Delicious, nutritious, and all-around inexpensive, this is a great meal for any time of day.

I have 5 more days left of vacation and I WILL watch ‘Miracle on 34th Street” and post more delicious recipes.  In addition, I will probably tell you how to eat the dishes in those recipes, will recommend what movies you should and should not rent, will continue to tell you what foods to buy, and will tell you what foods not to spend your money on.  Then I will add to my New Year’s resolutions, “stop being so bossy.”  Maybe.