Sunday, August 4, 2013

Polenta with Sauteed Leeks, Zucchini, and Tomatoes

Deep down, I know I'm a fickle foodie. One moment I'm swooning over green beans; the next, I'm madly in love with fish. But in August, my heart has and will always* belong to tomatoes. And when perfectly ripe heirloom cherry tomatoes keep crowding our co-op in fragrant piles of orange and red and yellow, I feel morally obligated to do my part and make this.

You make it, too. Because you're selfless like that, and you don't want the tomatoes to sit there feeling unloved. Also because it's blissfully delicious.

Olive oil
1 medium zucchini, quartered lengthwise and sliced
About 3" of a medium leek, white and/or light green parts, halved lengthwise and sliced
2 medium to large garlic cloves, chopped
1 cup (half a basket) cherry tomatoes, halved and sprinkled with a pinch of salt
Big handful basil, chopped
1 cup chicken or veggie broth
1 cup coarsely ground cornmeal (polenta)
1-2 oz. grated Parmesan cheese
Salt & freshly ground black pepper
3 tbsp balsamic vinegar, reduced (simmer gently in a small pot until volume reduces by half)
(Optional: If you're in the mood, top with a fried pastured egg)

Bring the cup of broth and 2 cups of water to boil in a pot.

Meanwhile, heat a glug of olive oil in a wide nonstick frying pan over medium heat. Add the zucchini and fry, turning occasionally, until golden brown on most sides. Push to the side of the pan, turn the heat down a little, and add a drizzle of olive oil and the leeks and a pinch of salt to the other side. Saute the leeks, stirring occasionally, for about two minutes or until they soften. Add the garlic and saute for a minute more, then mix everything together. Add the tomatoes and basil, stir, and turn off the heat. Adjust salt to taste.

Add the polenta to the pot of simmering broth in a slow, steady stream, stirring constantly with a wooden spoon. Keeping the heat at medium-low, continue to stir slowly until the polenta thickens and just begins to pull away from the sides of the pot. Turn off the heat, and stir in the Parmesan.

Serve the tomato-zucchini mixture over the polenta, drizzle with balsamic reduction, and sprinkle with freshly ground black pepper.

Serves 2-3.

*Give or take.

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