A post about Cayuga Pure Organics has been bubbling to the surface of my blog for weeks now. I have been buying their delicious dried beans at the farmers market (recipes to follow soon) and discovered recently that they also grind their own spelt and wheat for flour, and corn into a coarse meal that inspired this polenta.
How cool is it to buy local flours with the milling date stamped on the bag!
I really only cook polenta for 15 minutes which makes this dish so quick and easy, and a great last minute whole grain side or main course. I had never tried grilling Romano beans before, who ever bothers with a grill pan? Usually not me, but these turned out so good that I think I’ll move my pan closer to the top of the drawer and use it instead of dreaming of country decks with outdoor grills.
Since the basil in my fridge just had to be used I made a pesto to accompany.
I love making pesto this way but before I had this mortar and pestle I would just finely chop all the ingredients and then mix them in a bowl. If it’s speed you’re after get out the food processor.
Today my friend Bex is coming over for lunch, and since she usually dosen’t like polenta, I was interested if this could change her mind. Luckily for me it did. It turned out creamy but had some texture from the coarse pieces of ground corn. Still, I prefer even more texture and next time, I’ll do half corn grits. This would also help prevent the meal from lumping when first added to the water.
For some color I added a few halved cherry tomatoes tossed in olive oil and balsamic vinegar.
If you like Parmesan cheese pass some around the table.
2 cups chopped basil leaves
2 cloves garlic, minced
¼ cup pine nuts
¼ cup extra virgin olive oil
Place all ingredients into a mortar and pestle and crush until everything is well combined. Add sea salt to taste.
Makes about 2/3 cup
1 handful green romano beans, trimmed
1 handful yellow romano beans, trimmed
extra virgin olive oil
Heat grill pan over medium heat for 4 or 5 minutes. Lightly coat beans in olive oil. Lie on grill pan in one layer and grill 4 minutes on each side. Repeat with remaining beans. Place in a serving dish and sprinkle with sea salt.
4 cups water
2 bay leaves
pinch red pepper flakes
1 cup corn meal or corn grits
1 table spoon extra virgin olive oil
Put water, bay leaves, red pepper flakes and sea salt in a heavy medium size pot and bring to a boil. Lower heat, cover and simmer for 5 minutes.
Remove bay leaves and slowly add corn meal whisking constanly. Raise heat to medium-high and continue whisking until any lumps are gone and mixture begins to bubble. Lower heat again and cook polenta for 15 minutes, stirring every couple of minutes with a wooden spoon.
Stir in black pepper, olive oil and extra sea salt to taste.
Spoon onto plates and top with beans and pesto.
Enjoy in the city or on a country deck!
Serves 4 as a main course.