Lemon-Thyme Polenta and Roasted Mediterranean Vegetables

Polenta con Verdura Arrostita a Sapore di Timo al Limone

2 3/4 cups vegetable broth
1 cup yellow cornmeal
1 tablespoon plus 4 teaspoons chopped garlic
4 teaspoons chopped fresh lemon thyme
salt and freshly ground pepper, to taste
1/4 cup balsamic vinegar
2 tablespoons drained and minced
oil-packed sun-dried tomatoes
5 Asian eggplant, halved lengthwise and cut crosswise into 1-inch pieces
3 zucchini, cut into slices 1 inch thick
8 small red potatoes, quartered
1 large red bell pepper, seeded and cut into 1-inch pieces
2 red onions, each cut into eighths

Line an 8 1/2-by-4 1/2-inch loaf pan with plastic wrap. In a saucepan over medium heat, whisk together 2 1/2 cups of the broth, the cornmeal, 1 tablespoon of the garlic and 2 teaspoons of the thyme. Continue to whisk until the cornmeal is thick and smooth, about 12 minutes. Season generously with salt and pepper. Pour the cornmeal into the prepared pan, spreading it evenly and smoothing the top. Let cool, cover and refrigerate until firm, at least 5 hours. Preheat an oven to 400ºF. In a large bowl, combine the remaining 1/4 cup broth, the vinegar, sun-dried tomatoes, and the remaining 4 teaspoons garlic and 2 teaspoons thyme. Add the eggplant, zucchini, potatoes and bell pepper. Toss well and let stand for 20 minutes.

Coat 3 baking sheets with nonstick cooking spray. Turn out the polenta onto a cutting board and cut into 12 equal slices. Place the polenta slices in a single layer on 1 of the prepared baking sheets. Arrange the marinated vegetables and onions on the other 2 baking sheets. Season with salt and pepper. Place all 3 baking sheets in the oven and roast for 15 minutes. Turn over the vegetables and polenta and continue to roast until browned, about 10 minutes more for the vegetables and 15 minutes more for the polenta. Transfer the vegetables to warmed individual plates, dividing them evenly. Garnish each plate with 2 polenta slices. Serve immediately.

Serves 6.

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