CSA Week 14 and 15 - Ottolenghi's Sweet Corn Polenta with Eggplant
These two parts of the meal can be made concurrently. Just make sure you have everything prepped first!
6 ears of corn
2 1/4 cups water
3 tablespoons butter, diced
7 ounces feta, crumbled
1/4 teaspoon salt
Shuck the corn, chop off the pointed top and stalk. Shave off the kernels from each ear; you want to have about 1 1/4 pounds kernels.
Place the kernels in a medium saucepan and barely cover them with the water. Cook for 12 minutes on a low simmer. Use a slotted spoon to remove the kernels from the water and place into a food processor; reserving the cooking liquid in the saucepan.
Process them for quite a few minutes, to break down as much of the kernel as possible. Add some of the cooking liquid if the mixture becomes too dry to process.
Return the corn paste to the pan with the cooking liquid and cook, while stirring, on low heat for 10 to 15 minutes, or until the mixture thickens to mashed potato consistency. Be careful, since polenta likes to sputter over the heat. Constant stirring will help, or reserve some of the liquid if the mixture isn't very dry- if you like the consistency after just processing, you can skip ahead to the next step.
Fold in the butter, feta cheese, salt, and pepper, and optionally cook for a further 2 minutes. Taste and add more salt if needed.
2/3 cup vegetable oil
1 medium eggplant, cut into 3/4-inch dice
2 teaspoons tomato paste
1/4 cup dry white wine
1 cup chopped peeled tomatoes (fresh or canned)
6 1/2 tablespoons water
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon sugar
1 tablespoon chopped fresh oregano (about 1 teaspoon dried)
Heat the oil in a large pot and fry the eggplant on medium heat for about 15 minutes, or until nicely browned. Drain off as much oil as you can and discard it (scoop out the eggplant using a slotted spoon and move to a paper towel lined plate; pour off the extra oil, then add the eggplant back into the pot). You can reserve the oil for a later use, though it will mostly be useful for one more frying.
Add the tomato paste to the pan, stir with the eggplant and cook for 2 minutes. Add the wine and cook for another minute. Add the chopped tomatoes, water, salt, sugar and oregano and cook for another 5 minutes to let the flavors meld and concentrate. Set aside.
Add some polenta to the bottom of a bowl, and spoon some eggplant sauce on top. Enjoy hot!