Saturday, December 31, 2016
Escarole & polenta pie
It may not look like much but few foods are more comforting to me than this one. I've been eating polenta with escarole since I was a boy and no matter how many times I make it, it always tastes the same. Even when it isn't.
You know how that is.
Anyway, it's New Year's Eve and we've all got lots to do. I'll get right to it then.
As with so many good things, start out by sauteing lots of garlic, anchovy and a little hot pepper in plenty of good olive oil.
After a couple minutes toss in your escarole and cover so that it steams a bit. This is 3 bunches of escarole here, which have been cleaned and chopped.
Making polenta is an inexact science and so go with the way you're most comfortable. In terms of quantities for this dish, I used 1 1/3 cups of polenta and cooked it in around 7 cups of water.
Once the escarole has softened remove the lid, add some chopped kalamata olives and pine nuts, and saute another couple minutes. Salt and pepper to taste. (I've also had this with raisins instead of olives, which is more Sicilian style, and it's great too. And it works without the pine nuts too.)
Assembling is a piece of cake. Just put down a layer of the polenta in a baking dish that's been lightly coated with olive oil, so that the bottom of the pan is completely covered.
Then add the escarole, but make sure not to use very much of the liquid that's left in the pan it sauteed in. I just scoop out the escarole with a slotted spoon.
All that's left to do now is put down another layer of polenta, at which point cover the pan with aluminum foil and place in an oven preheated to 375 degrees F. After 30 minutes remove the foil and bake for another 15 minutes or so. The edges of the polenta should start to brown slightly. Think of it as if it's lasagne; that'll help figure out when it's done.
This was in the oven close to an hour. It's best not to cut into it immediately; let it rest at least a few minutes or more and then have at it.
I really do love this stuff.
Happy New Year everybody!