Grilled Polenta with a Creamy Lemon Caper Goat Ricotta Cheese Sauce
Polenta is a fine-ground corn that is pretty easy to prepare. It can either be prepared soft and creamy, or dry and firm. Personally, I prefer the consistency of the firm version. The preparation is fairly simple; just constantly whisk the cornmeal in liquid until each grain swells up, refrigerate and cut into slices. Right before you're ready to serve, place the polenta on a grill pan to create some nice grill marks.
To create the perfect summer dish, I've paired grilled medallions of polenta with a creamy lemon caper goat ricotta cheese sauce. It's divine!
Yields: 61 pound polenta, (about 2-1/2 to 3 cups)
7-1/3 cups water, as needed (depending on how firm your want the consistency of the polenta)
1-1/4 cups heavy cream
3 tablespoons unsalted butter
2 tablespoons parmesan cheese powder
3 tablespoons olive oil
1 cup goat ricotta cheese
1/4 cup vegenaise (egg-free mayonnaise), see tips
1 clove pickled garlic, finely minced
1/3 cup goat milk
1/3 cup non-pareil capers, drained
1 tablespoon garlic chives, finely snipped
1 teaspoon flat-leaf parsley, finely chopped
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon black peppercorns, freshly ground
Brush a grill pan with the remaining butter. Place the polenta disks on the grill pan. Cook for about 3-4minutes until brown on both sides. Make nice grilling marks on the polenta.
You're all set. Dig in!
Fine-milled polenta cooks better than coarse. I always look for Italian cornmeal brands that carry finer mill than American ones.
You can prepare the polenta dough the day before. Just grill the polenta slices when you're ready to serve.
Count about 1 part of polenta to 3 parts of liquid.
Goat milk product has a different taste and is rich in folic acid which my doctor has just recommended to me. It's good for you and bring a change to your diet; it has a more easily digestible fat and protein content than cow milk. It's very common in countries like India where meat consumption is low, goat milk is an important daily food source of protein and calcium not available otherwise because of a lack of cow's milk. I use it in my savory panna cotta that I pair with a Beluga lentil relish; it's delicious. You can find fresh goat milk at Trader Joe's. If you don't have any, Whole Foods carries goat milk in cans. You can also get it online. One 12 oz can yields 1-1/4 cups. Otherwise you can always substitute with regular ricotta cheese and cow's milk with the same proportions.
I used pickled garlic so that it does not overpower the lemon caper sauce. If you don't mind a not-so-mild flavor, use fresh garlic.
You can use regular capers but I prefer non-pareil capers. They are native to the South of France. This variety has a sharp, piquant and briny aroma. I bought them in a specialty store but you can also find them online. I love using capers; they add a nice salty and sour note in sauces and salads.
I always use homemade egg-free mayonnaise because of the vegetarians in the house. How to make your own vegenaise: In a food processor, combine 5 ounces of silken soft tofu (1/2 package), 1 teaspoon of sugar, 1 teaspoon of white wine vinegar, 2 teaspoons of lemon juice, 1 teaspoon of mustard, 2 tablespoons of grapeseed oil, 1/2 teaspoon of garlic powder, a dash of Tabasco sauce (optional) and a drizzle of toasted sesame oil. Blend until smooth. Save the rest of the egg-free mayonnaise for your salad the day after.
I often use different sized circle cutters. I shaped my smoked salmon on wonton puffs with them. You can find circle cutters in any restaurant supply store or kitchen store like Smart and Final. As Anthony Bourdain would say, your food will look so much more elegant using these little tools (read Kitchen Confidential).
If you decide to serve them as an appetizer, you can cut the polenta into French fries-shaped strips using a carving vegetable knife and serve the lemon caper sauce on the side in a dipping-sauce bowl.