This is a riff on Mollie Katzen’s Green Green Noodle Soup, with a little bit of “Green Eggs and Ham” inspiration. Polenta is ground corn and not hard to make if you grow corn in summer. In fact, it is probably the grain staple most suited to my climate. It’s medium GI and a good source of fibre, minerals and B6. Its creamy texture and fairly bland flavour make it loved by kids, so this could be a good way to convince kids that green is good. It also makes it a good carrier for flavours.
If you grow your own corn for polenta, it will take 40 minutes or so to cook. But if you use the fast cooking polenta that is the kind commonly sold, this recipe comes together in literally half an hour, and it’s worth it.
All the vegetables in this recipe are diced fairly fine.
Saute in a little olive oil (adding in more or less this order)
- 2 zucchini
- 2 – 3 spring onions (whites and greens)
- 3 – 4 cloves of garlic
- a bunch of spinach or 6 – 8 silver beet leaves stripped from the stem and chopped
- half a cup of chopped parsley
- 1/4 cup chopped basil
As soon as it is all wilted, add ½ cup of polenta and 2 cups of water.
Cook, stirring frequently for 10 minutes or so until it is thick and creamy.
Crumble in 80 grams of low fat feta cheese and cook for a minute or two to melt it through. Taste and add salt to taste.
At this point you have two choices. You can leave the vegetables as they are, or you can blend the mixture till they fleck the polenta, or blend thoroughly so you have green polenta. Kids seem to like the smooth texture and interesting colour of green polenta, but I like the flavour textures of it unblended.
Lightly grease a shallow metal pan and spread the polenta mix in it so that it is about 1.5 cm thick. Pop this in the freezer for a few minutes. It will set in literally 5 minutes and you will be able to tip it out onto a board and cut it into squares or triangles.
While it is setting heat some olive oil with a little knob of butter in a heavy pan. Fry the squares of polenta on a high heat for a few minutes on each side until they are browned and have a crisp crust. (You’ll get a better crust if you can restrain yourself to turn them just once.)
They are great as a main feature with a tomato-based sauce and a salad, or as a side dish with meat or chicken, or as the base for a poached egg.