The Italians call it "polenta", the Americans call it "grits" - whatever you wanna call it, this cornmeal based dish is extremely versatile and fun to experiment with. I've been playing around with a couple of recipes and this one is definitely share worthy.
Corn meal, as you probably already guessed, is made from ground up corn and tastes amazing when combined with cheese, tomato sauce, gravies, and other ingredients. Although you can purchase ready made polenta in strange tube shaped packages, I prefer making it from scratch by slowly mixing cornmeal into hot water. It will come out quite mushy at first, but once you let it sit and cool, it starts to harden and take the shape of its surface. Try it for yourself and let me know what you think.
4 cups water
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 cup organic corn meal
olive oil for greasing pan
250-500g baby spinach (depending on how "spinach-ey" you want it to be)
2/3 cup 5% cream
1 cup cubed goat cheese
1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1. To make polenta, bring 4 cups of water to a boil in a large heavy pan and add 1/2 tsp salt. Adjust heat to simmer. Whilst stirring with a wooden spoon, slowly add the polenta in a steady stream. The polenta tends to get clumpy so make sure you are stirring the entire time and pour corn meal slowly.
2. Return pan to medium heat and stir constantly for 15-20 minutes until the polenta is thick and you are able to lift it from the side of a pan with a spoon. Remove pan from heat.
3. Grease a round 10-inch pan with oil and spoon polenta into pan, using a wet spatula to spread the polenta evenly. Leave to cool for about 30 min.
4. Preheat oven to 375 degrees F. Wash spinach and place in a pan. Fill pan until spinach leaves are submerged. Cover pan and boil over medium heat for approximately 3 minutes until spinach is tender. Use a colander to drain the spinach, squeezing all excess water with a spoon.
5. Heat cream, cheese, and nutmeg in a heavy pan. Bring to boil, then reduce heat, stirring until most of the cheese is melted. Stir in spinach and pepper to taste, then continue stirring/cooking until slightly thickened.
6. Take the spinach sauce and pour it over the cooled polenta. Bake for 25-30 minutes. Sprinkle with parmesan cheese and let cool.
This dish was equally tasty on the second and third day, just needs to be heat up. Makes for a great breakfast or snack option!