Fresh Corn Polenta Rocks with Ratatouille

 Yikes! This polenta is so darn yummy.  A very comforting, smooth, slightly sweet and savory porridge.

Occasionally I will make polenta as a backdrop for my Ratatouille, which in itself is pretty fabulous, but when I came across Ottolenghi's Sweet Corn Polenta in Plenty, I knew we were going there.  And, no sooner was that thought in mind, than there was fresh corn in the market begging me not to pass on by.

I should have totally dished up for both of us, but just scooped Bob's polenta into his bowl and left it for him to add on the Ratatouille.  So, of course he just tucked into that corn porridge like there was no end in sight,  saying it was too good and wanted it all by itself.  Only with seconds did he condescend to top with the "main dish".

What can you do?  At least I had my bowl for a photo. This fresh corn polenta will be a regular item on our menus in future, especially as it turned out to be very easy and much quicker to make than the usual sort, something else in its favor.

Fresh Corn Polenta
       Adapted from the recipe in Plenty by Ottolenghi
6 ears of corn, shucked
2 1/4 cups water, approximately
3 tablespoons butter
7 ounces Feta cheese, crumbled, or Parmesan and Monterey Jack, Farmer's, or Cheddar, grated
1/4 teaspoon salt
Black pepper
  1. Using a sharp knife, cut the kernels off each ear of corn.  Easiest to do this with the ear standing up inside of a short wide bowl, which will catch any stray flying kernels. 
  2. Place the kernels in a medium saucepan and pour in water. Cook for 12 minutes on a low simmer. Now pour into a glass measuring bowl through a large enough strainer, then transfer the corn into a food processor; reserving the cooking liquid.
  3. Process the corn kernels in the food process until smooth with some of the reserved liquid. It will take a few minutes as you are trying to break up the kernel cases as much as possible. Add more of the cooking liquid as needed to process.
  4. Scoop the corn paste from the food processor into the saucepan and cook, on low heat for 10 to 15 minutes, stirring in the cooking liquid in small increments until it reaches your desired consistency (many like it the consistency of thick mashed potatoes).  Begin with just a little liquid and gradually add in more, as with regular polenta.
  5. Fold in the butter, cheese, salt and some pepper and cook for a further 2 minutes. Taste and add more salt if needed.
My only change to the Plenty recipe was to substitute a mix of Jack and Parmesan for the feta, which I was out of, and to cut the recipe by half for the two of us, so 3 ears of corn.

It truly rocks.  A revelation, to me anyway.  Who would have thought something that simple could be so fantastic??  And if you want a great Ratatouille, here it is:


1 medium eggplant
2 baby zucchini
2 medium tomatoes, sliced (I used halved cherry ones this time but the skins seemed more evident so wouldn't again)
1 green bell pepper (despite photo evidence contrary) sliced
2-3 cloves garlic, chopped
1 medium onion, sliced
salt and pepper
1/2 cup olive oil
black olives, if desired
Parmesan, grated (optional)
Parsley, chopped for garnish

Slice eggplant and zucchini in 3/4" slices, sprinkle with salt and let stand 1/2 to 1 hour.  Pat dry with paper towels.

Heat half the oil in a medium sized heavy saucepan.  Arrange in separate layers, with salt, pepper and garlic in between, the eggplant, zucchini, and etc., ending with the tomato slices.  Pour the remaining oil over the vegetables, cover and simmer slowly for 40 minutes or bake at 350F.

If you like, top with some grated Parmesan, and garnish with  parsley.  This dish is equally delicious served at room temperature next day.  Will be sharing with Beth Fish Reads for her Weekend Cooking group.


Beth F said...

I adore polenta but have never had it fresh (at least as far as I know)--I always made it from cornmeal. I MUST try this. I bet it's outstanding.

Laurie C said...

I love polenta!!! We usually make it with Parmesan. This recipe with fresh corn is omething for me to try when my 4-week low-carb diet is over! I might try the ratatouille recipe plain, first, though.

Carole said...

We don't use polenta at home. Yet something else for me to try. Have a great week!
Cheers from Carole's Chatter!

Deb in Hawaii said...

I have been meaning to make Ottolenghi's fresh polenta forever but never seem to get around to it and now you have me totally craving it. It looks perfect with that lovely ratatouille too! ;-)

Vicki said...

I've never had polenta or ratatouille. Both sound and look so good!

Katherine P said...

This sounds amazing! I've had a fresh corn grits dish that I imagine would be pretty similar but this sounds even better. I think I side with Bob on wanting it by itself but that's mostly because I'm just not a big eggplant fan!

Mae Travels said...

Ottolenghi is so great! I'm a big fan of his book "Jerusalem."

This sounds like a fantastic recipe.

best... mae at maefood.blogspot.com

(Diane) bookchickdi said...

I love polenta but I have never made it from scratch-I'm impressed!

My Cozy Book Nook said...

I have never had polenta or ratatouille but have always wanted to try.

I will bookmark this and plan to fix together as you suggest.

Tina said...

I love both ratatouille and polenta but never thought of marrying them together. It looks so wonderful, would love to pack some for lunch.
Good for you making it homemade, I have never made homemade polenta.