≡ Menu

Green Flecked Polenta With Roast Capsicum and Tomato

Capsicums are the feature crop out of my garden this week, and they are so much in season that even if you aren’t growing them, you should be able to get beautiful local ones at Farmers Markets.  I steer clear of the standard California Wonder – the variety you find in supermarkets. It’s lower yielding, shorter lived, more vulnerable to fruit fly, and less heat and drought tolerant than I need. My favourite varieties at the moment are Corno de Toro, Hungarian Yellow wax, and one I call Supermarket Flats because the seed came from some capsicums I bought in the supermarket, just because they were unusual and I hoped they might be non-hybrid. I think they are actually Baby Reds, and they are doing brilliantly for me.

So roast capsicums are the star in the  Tuesday Night Vego Challenge this week. Polenta goes really well with them, and of course, this time of year, I put zucchini in everything.

The Recipe

Makes two dinner serves, but can easily be doubled.

The Polenta

Lightly sauté

  • one finely diced spring onion (greens and whites)
  •  with 2 cloves of garlic finely diced.

Add

  • ½ cup of grated zucchini
  • ¼ cup finely chopped basil
  • ½ cup fine polenta
  • 2 cups water 

Cook, stirring, for about 10 minutes till it goes very thick, like thick porridge. Then add 70 gm low fat feta, grated, and continue cooking, stirring, for just a minute or two to melt the feta through. (You can leave out the feta if you are avoiding dairy, and it will still work, but it does make it lovely and creamy). Taste and add salt to taste.  (It doesn’t need much – the feta is salty).

Turn the mixture out into an oiled small pie plate or tray. You want it to be  about 2 cm deep.  Use the back of a wet spoon to smooth the top. Put the pie plate in the coldest part of your fridge, or in the freezer, for about 10 minutes to set.

Roast Capsicum and Tomato

To do this in half an hour, you need to multitask and put the capsicum on to char while the polenta is cooking. You can skip this stage, but it is really worth doing.

  • Char the skin of some capsicums over a gas flame, or under a grill, or over a barbeque. I like a mixture of red and yellow, and how many depends on how big they are. Use tongs to turn until the skin is blackened and blistering all over. Quickly put the hot capsicums in a plastic bag or tupperware container or a small pot with a lid – something that will hold in the steam. Leave them to steam and cool until you can handle them. You should then be able to easily rub off the skin. Don’t worry if there are little bits of charred skin left – it adds to the flavour. Slice the capsicum open, discard the seeds, and slice the flesh into strips.
  • In a frypan, saute in olive oil one large or two small red onions, sliced,  and two or three cloves of finely chopped garlic. Add the capsicum and just a teaspoon of balsamic vinegar.
  • Add  a good handful of halved cherry tomatoes and heat them through. You don’t want the cherry tomatoes to cook down, just heat up.

Frying the Polenta and Assembling

The polenta should be set. Turn it out onto a board and slice into slabs.  Heat a heavy frypan with a little olive oil up to very hot. Don’t put the polenta in until it is hot, or it will stick.

Fry the polenta till it is golden, turning once. Try not to keep turning it – you will get a better crust by turning just once.
Serve with the roast capsicum on top.

Are you doing the Tuesday Night Vego Challenge, or cooking easy, healthy, in season, weeknight vego recipes regularly? Links are welcome in the Comments.

[relatedPosts]

{ 12 comments… add one }
  • Kate February 7, 2012, 10:57 am

    Oh My! that sounds delicious. Maybe that’s what we’ll have for dinner tonight.

  • Norma Chang February 7, 2012, 11:25 am

    Great polenta recipe, love all the ingredients you add. I could just have the polenta with a green salad.

  • Linda February 7, 2012, 11:35 am

    We do often have it just like that Norma. In winter I add spinach or silver beet too – Green Green Polenta – and it’s good with a poached egg on top. You would be in the middle of winter now, so capsicum are probably off the menu in your part of the world!

  • L from 500m2 in Sydney February 7, 2012, 1:17 pm

    I’ve never tried cooking with polenta. I’ll have to buy some and give it a go.

  • L from 500m2 in Sydney February 7, 2012, 1:19 pm

    Why do I always forget the link? This week I’ve posted on vegetarian. Quiche with a rice crust:
    http://500m2.wordpress.com/2012/02/07/tuesday-night-vego-quiche-with-a-rice-crust/

  • Leanne February 8, 2012, 2:21 pm

    Hi Linda,

    Nothing to do with this post (although it looks delicious). I’m about to try building your chook dome, from your book, “The Permaculture Home Garden”, which I have. I’m in NZ and no problem with bandicoots!

    I was wondering, before I start building, if there are any changes to the design you would recommend since writing and publishing the book, or if you’d still recommend building the dome as described in the book.

    Any tips you can give would be really appreciated. I’ll be photographing the build and linking back to your blog (and giving credit for the design of course) on my blog.

    Cheers,

    Leanne at Hazeltree Farm

  • Linda February 8, 2012, 2:29 pm

    Hi Leanne, I had really good results with my chook domes for over a decade. They took occasional maintenance, mostly where the wire tore where it had bent repeatedly towards the end of their life. But nothing I would call excessive. We get big winds and very high UV here, and most of the time I was moving them on my own, so they did well. Milkwood Permaculture designed an adaption with geodesic geometry. I like Milkwood’s design – the geometry is very elegant and it would make it stronger, but also heavier I imagine. But they are a bit lower, and I liked the height inside mine for me to get inside for moving, and for the chooks to be able to get up out of goanna range. If I were doing it again, I might think about using the strong versions of bird netting or fish netting that are available these days to cover it, instead of wire. I don’t know – I’d have to weigh up the saving in weight and ability to bend, against the strength to avoid tearing accidentally or by dogs or foxes. Otherwise, I think I’d build the same again. Zucchini Island is using a dome, and Fig Jam and Lime Cordial. You could ask them what they think too.

  • celia February 9, 2012, 8:07 am

    Great recipe, and an even more mouthwatering photo! We’ve been growing lipstick capsicum indoors with some success this year, but there’s been so much rain that everything outdoors is going brown and wilting. Oh for a little sunshine..

  • Sarah February 9, 2012, 1:54 pm

    No link from me this week, but we did have a vego dinner – a mezze style platter with roasted eggplant (from the garden) and capsicum doused in fresh pesto (from the garden), with grilled halloumi cheese, tabbouleh (parsley from the garden), pumpkin hommus (I cheated and used tinned chickpeas but the pumpkin was from the garden) and some falafel (from a packet, oh the shame!)

    The falafel were so disappointing that I’m definitely making them from scratch next time – serves me right for being lazy!

    The baby eggplants have been so delicious, I’ll grow double the number next year.

  • Linda February 9, 2012, 2:52 pm

    A mezze is in my list of drafts – such a good way to eat dinner in summer.

  • scrattynz February 10, 2012, 7:18 am

    I cooked this for tea last night. Soooo tasty and everyone loved it. Thank you Linda!

  • Eileen March 15, 2012, 4:50 pm

    Linda, commenting about the chook dome – I originally tried building one from polypiping. I had it to the arches standing stage and leftit to go inside for lunch. As it was quite a hot day by the time I had finished my lunch it had colapsed with the heat. I had to start all over again with heavier piping. This version worked but was always a bit wonky and the entry was not very successful as when I was away and my neighbour feeding my animals etc. a fox must have got in and that was the end of the chooks. I have since built a new dome with the white piping which is stronger. With the help of a friend and my daughter and her partner we have produced a sturdy dome with a working door. I have made the second ring lower because with the first, I could get in to move it but I couldn’t get out! (without some trouble) My dome has been modified to be smaller as I have only two or three hens but they lay enough for me and some to give away. I also have a duck who is a wonderful layer and keeps mt Chinese friends happy.

Leave a Comment