While I was cooking the Secondo Piatto, which in this case was Lepre alla Cacciatora (Hunter’s style Hare), I became peckish and looked around what I could do for a Primo Piatto. I had a few Radish leaves and some Polenta from the day before.
Ad a few spoons of good extra virgin olive oil to a cast iron pan and heat on medium to high. Cut the polenta in slices of about 20 mm thick and fry until lightly brown, then flip them over and fry the other side.
This is the same recipe we use for spinaci, silverbeet, and many other leaves. Wash the leaves and shake dry. Ad a tablespoon of good extra virgin olive oil to a heavy cast iron pan, then ad the leaves, some chopped garlic and some chilli, if wanted. Fry until all is nice and soft.
The above was made within a few minutes and some black pepper and parmigiano cheese finished it well. It was beautiful and went down well with some home made red.
I had to photograph the result of a cooking discussion or, cooking bickering, if you must.
The great thing about being self sufficient and eating from the vegetable patch is the joy of harvesting something one grew oneself. It is organic and fresh even if, at time whatever is harvested is gnarled and puny it still tastes wonderful. The bad thing is that one is held hostage by the blackbird that eats all the seedlings the chickens overlooked when they were free ranging last time. The seasons and climate, especially here in Dunedin , dictate whether things grow or not and the person in control of the garden constantly suffers arched inquiries as to why in the world so much (or so little) of something was planted
Sometimes there is a glut of something and then the search for a great recipe, or, often many great recipes of one particular vegetable or fruit depending on the amount harvested. The frantic paging through the cookbooks begin, and since my 200 plus books are all about regional Italian cooking the search can not be narrowed down to, say, Indian or Chinese, and mutterings of ‘ it was always in this book, where has it gone’ are commonplace. A lot of time is spent getting side tracked when I see something fondly remembered or something I always wanted to try. Once the recipe is selected sudden resistance from the household to the ingredients could flare up, prompting the beginning of a new search and the hauling out of more books!
To make good Polenta is an art.
1 Cup Polenta Flour
3.5 Cups of warm tap water
1 Teaspoon salt
40 g Butter
60 g Grated Parmigiano Cheese (Optional)
Ad Water, Polenta Flour and Salt to a pot and heat mildly until boiling – stir continuously. Lower heat and continue to cook and stir frequently until Polenta is done (when it comes away from the side when stirring is normally an indication that it is cooked). Take off the heat and stir in the Butter and Parmigiano Cheese.
To stir a flat based pot must be done with an instrument with a straight flat side at the end. One cannot stir the bottom of a flat pot with a rounded spoon. The bottom of the pot is warmer than the rest and the starches gelatinise at the bottom first. If the bottom contents is not regularly loosened and mixed with the rest, it will burn and stick to the pot – that is why a porridge pot is always so difficult to clean. Making Polenta requires the pot base to be stirred / scraped and “cleaned” all the time.