Grilled Polenta with a Creamy Lemon Caper Goat Ricotta Cheese Sauce

Grilled Polenta with a Creamy Lemon Caper Goat Ricotta Cheese Sauce Recipe

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: 6

1 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
2 lemons
1 tablespoon garlic chives, finely snipped
1 teaspoon flat-leaf parsley, finely chopped
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon black peppercorns, freshly ground


For the polenta:
In a large sauce pan, bring the water to a full boil. Add the polenta. Whisk frequently for about 30-40 minutes until each grain swells up and the mixture has thickened. Add the heavy cream, 2 tablespoons of butter and parmesan powder. Season with 1/4 teaspoon of salt and pepper. Lower the temperature to a gentle simmer for about 5 minutes.

Brush a baking sheet with a tablespoon of olive oil. Transfer the polenta onto the baking sheet. Even it out. The polenta should be at least 1/2-inch thick. Let it cool completely, then refrigerate (for at least an hour) until the rest of the components are ready.

For the lemon caper goat ricotta sauce:
Reserve about 1 tablespoon of capers for decoration. Roughly chop the rest of the capers.
Zest 2 lemons and juice them. Reserve about 1 teaspoon of lemon zest for garnish.
In a bowl, thin the goat ricotta cheese with vegenaise, goat milk and lemon juice. Add the chopped capers, the lemon zest, chopped parsley, the pickled garlic, 2 teaspoons of garlic chives and a tablespoon of olive oil. Season with salt and pepper.

For grilling the polenta:
Create disks of polenta, using a 2-inch diameter circle cutter. Brush them with a tablespoon of olive oil.

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.

Assembly time:
Transfer to a platter. Season the polenta with a little salt.
Drizzle with the lemon caper goat ricotta cheese sauce. Garnish with lemon zest, the extra capers and the remaining garlic chives.

You're all set. Dig in!

Bon appétit!


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.

How to obtain freshly grated parmesan powder: Cut up a chunk of parmesan and chop the morsels in a mini-food processor until it's a fine powder.

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.

ricotta cheese sauce recipe

lemon caper sauce recipe

Grilled polenta recipe
Published By: Jacqueline Pham on August 20, 2009.


[-] Julia @ Mélanger - Guest-JuliaMlanger
This looks great. I love the grill marks on the polenta. I've never grilled it myself before!

Julia @ Mélanger Website Link
[ Posted at 1:40 AM on 8/21/09 | Reply ]
[-] Foodie with Little Thyme! - Guest-cassie
This does look divine. The sauce is just perfect.

cassie Website Link
[ Posted at 3:59 AM on 8/21/09 | Reply ]
Love the combination you have here!

Anh Website Link
[ Posted at 4:11 AM on 8/21/09 | Reply ]
The polenta rounds look perfect and the lemon caper goat ricotta sauce sounds really heavenly! Certainly a must try!

Natasha - 5 Star Foodie Website Link
[ Posted at 4:38 AM on 8/21/09 | Reply ]
What a pretty side dish, I love the goat cheese ricotta sauce too!

Kerstin Website Link
[ Posted at 8:38 AM on 8/21/09 | Reply ]
YES! I love grilled polenta! I can't get enough of it this summer. Thanks for the vegenaise recipe, can't wait to try it. Beautifully done, as always.

Rose Website Link
[ Posted at 9:09 AM on 8/21/09 | Reply ]
[-] yum - Guest-OysterCulture
I'm a sucker for anything with capers, just love them. In fact just caught myself writing OysterCaper instead of OysterCulture. This dish sounds wonderful and has everything I love in it!

OysterCulture Website Link
[ Posted at 9:29 AM on 8/21/09 | Reply ]
wow!! love the presentation!!
Mmmm, tummies are rumbling for these! They sound addictive

nora@ffr Website Link
[ Posted at 9:35 AM on 8/21/09 | Reply ]
[-] Gorgeous pics! - Guest-JessicaFoodmayhem
The yellow and blue give it such a nice country feel. It makes me want to sit back and relax on the porch with a plate of these. I don't have a porch though. =(

Jessica@Foodmayhem Website Link
[ Posted at 10:54 AM on 8/21/09 | Reply ]
[-] YUM! - Guest-Cookie
I actually have a polenta log from Trader Joe's and this sauce sounds perfect!

Cookie Website Link
[ Posted at 11:01 AM on 8/21/09 | Reply ]
Oh we love polenta for sure, but that creamy sauce you've created is by far the winner!

The Duo Dishes Website Link
[ Posted at 12:37 PM on 8/21/09 | Reply ]
I've baked polenta, but hadn't thought of grilling it. I'm sure it's sublime!

Dana Website Link
[ Posted at 1:50 PM on 8/21/09 | Reply ]
[-] cheffresco - Guest-cheffresco
We've still never cooked polenta - need to get on that. I love your goat cheese, lemony caper cheese sauce!!

cheffresco Website Link
[ Posted at 4:52 PM on 8/21/09 | Reply ]
[-] Crazy Asian Gal - Guest-Palidor
I've tried polenta a couple of times, but never liked it. However, these looks so delicious! I think it's that lemon ricotta cheese sauce. Ricotta is my favorite type of cheese.

Palidor Website Link
[ Posted at 6:43 AM on 8/22/09 | Reply ]
Such an elegant and delicious looking dish. Yum

Wizzythestick Website Link
[ Posted at 1:48 PM on 8/22/09 | Reply ]
Love the firm version, and love everything about this post! Beautiful presentation and pics too!

deeba Website Link
[ Posted at 7:25 PM on 8/22/09 | Reply ]

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Banh Mi

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