If you are always looking for something a little different, these take the ‘cake’, so to speak. They can be used as an appetizer or as a side dish for your entre. Spicy but not over-bearing. Start the day before you wish to use them. Takes a bit of time to start but oh-so worth it.
This will serve 4-6 people.
- 4 medium size tomatoes, quartered (about 1 lb.)
- pinch of sea salt
- 2 large garlic cloves, chopped
- 1 large shallot, chopped
- 1 small zucchini, trimmed and diced
- 1/4 cup olive oil
- 1 tsp. sea salt
- pinch of cumin
- 1 tbsp. brown sugar
- 1 chipotle pepper canned in Adobo sauce, finely chopped
Preheat oven to 275 degrees. Placed tomatoes on a large parchment lined baking tray. Scatter the garlic, shallot, zucchini and red pepper around and sprinkle lightly with the sea salt. Drizzle with olive oil and bake for about 90 minutes or until they are wrinkled and soft. Make sure to stir them about every 15 minutes so they don’t burn and ensure they all cook evenly.
Remove from the oven and peel the skins from the tomatoes. Transfer to a saucepan and add all the vegetables and pan juices. Sprinkle with the cumin and sugar. Add the chipotle and cook for about 20 minutes or until thick. Add a little more sugar to taste. Set aside. Cover with plastic and refrigerate. Just re-heat before serving.
- 4 cups vegetable stock
- 1 cup cornmeal
- 2 tbsp. unsalted butter
- pinch of salt
- 1 cup Asiago cheese, finely grated
- Flour for dusting
- butter lettuce
- fresh basil, finely shredded
Bring the stock to the boil and add the cornmeal, stirring constantly. Reduce heat to low and stir until very thick. (12-15 minutes), Stir in the butter, salt and 1/4 of the cheese, stirring until melted. Spread polenta on an oiled baking sheet , smooth the top with an off-set spatula. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate over night.
To fry the polenta, preheat the oven to 300 degrees. Cut the polenta in 2 1/2 inch rounds. Dust them lightly with the flour. Fry in a hot, well oiled skillet until golden on the bottom. Flip and transfer to a parchment lined baking sheet, Sprinkle with the remaining cheese and set in the oven just to melt the cheese.
To serve, place a butter lettuce leaf on the plate, rest a couple of the cakes against the leaf. Spoon warmed Tomato-Chipotle sauce over and garnish with a pinch of the shredded basil.