Monday, December 24, 2007

Baked Polenta with Swiss Chard

The next couple of weeks are probably going to be replete with green posts - the last PO box had many varieties of greens which we quickly ran through and I stocked up on more today.

Life has seriously been enriched with spinach and chard and collard and rutabaga greens - all goodness.
It has been a series of fun experiments trying to find different ways to cook greens. There are daals and curries and sambars and sautes - all of which are awesome, but this time I was really seeking a dish that did not involve extended cooking of the chard.

Swiss chard is a power food - it belongs to the Chenopod family - shared by beets and quinoa. And it is chockful of nutrients like Vitamin C, potassium and magnesium. Like with several other greens, long term cooking (20 minutes or more) ostensibly depletes the nutrients by as much as 50%. To work around this, I chose to flash cook the chard and bake it with the polenta to let the flavors blend and settle rather than go in for extended cooking that could lead to flavorful yet limp chard.

Baked Polenta with Swiss Chard
Green, yet good!

Servings: 2

1.5 cups cornmeal
2.5 cups of water
5-6 cloves of garlic - smashed

2 cups of shredded swiss chard

1 t cayenne powder

1 T olive oil

Heat the oven to 350 F.

Mix the cornmeal with 1 cup of water till smooth and set aside.

Heat the remaining 1.5 cups of water to a roiling boil along with salt to taste.
Turn down the heat to simmer and add the cornmeal paste slowly, stirring constantly to blend it in.
Continue to stir the polenta for another 5-6 minutes till fully cooked.

(Add a few more spoons of water if needed)

Heat the oil in a wok and saute the garlic till browned.
Add the chard and saute for 1-2 minutes.
Place the polenta along with the swiss chard in a baking pan.
Stir in the cayenne and season with more salt if needed.

Bake covered for 5-6 minutes.

Perfect accompaniment: Olive tapenade

Good? Weird? Odd?

Very good! The chard picked up the garlic flavors, yet retained its vibrance. And the polenta seemed really happy to be with the chard. Can't ask for more :)


Nags said...

is cornmeal similar to semolina? looks very nice and healthy!

KayKat said...

Hey Nags!

Coarse cornmeal has a texture similar to semolina, but is made from corn. Polenta is good stuff, you should definitely try it :)


Hmm.. lovely recipe Kaykat!

Nupur said...

Ah, that looks so hearty and comforting! Bring on the green goodness...I need all the inspiration I can get :)

Asha said...

Beautiful dish Kay. I love Parmesan Polenta, swiss chard in it makes it even more colorful and nutritious. Great dish. Happy New year, I will see again on the 1st of 2008!:))