November 1, 2009

Recipe: Garlic and Herb Polenta, California Grill, Contemporary Resort

Emboldened by last week's triumph over the Shrimp with Tomato-Feta Compote from Citricos at the Grand Floridian, I decided to take on a recipe from the grandaddy of WDW fine dining - the California Grill. If you haven't been, this is a must-do on your next trip. And be sure to stick around to watch Wishes from the balcony.

Back to business - this week I made the Garlic and Herb Polenta that is traditionally served with the California Grill's famous pork tenderloin. Polentas require a lot of babysitting, so it's not the easiest dish to prepare, but the results were good. You can serve it as a side dish, California Grill style, or eat it with some Melba Toast and call it dinner, Disney Chick style.

1 tablespoon olive oil
12 cup finely chopped onion
2 teaspoons Roasted Garlic Puree (more on this below)
1 1/4 cups water
1 1/4 cups milk
1/3 cup heavy cream
1/2 cup yellow cornmeal
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/8 teaspoon ground black pepper
2 tablespoons grated parmesan or asiago cheese
1/4 cup soft, crumbled goat cheese
1 tablespoon minced thyme leaves
1 tablespoon minced fresh sage leaves
1 tablespoon chopped parsley, for garnish

Before You Polenta ...

... you have to make the Roasted Garlic Puree. This takes awhile, but it's worth it and you can use this trick to liven up other dishes as well. You'll need one whole head of garlic, and some olive oil.

1. Preheat over to 400 degrees
2. Cut off the stem and top third of the garlic head.
3. Place the garlic on a sheet of aluminum foil and drizzle with olive oil.
4. Wrap the garlic with foil, seal the edges tightly, and roast for one hour.

From this ...
5. Remove the package from the oven, open carefully, and let cool slightly.
... to this.
6. Scrape or squeeze the pulp from the garlic cloves. This is what it should look like when you're done.

Now that that's done, let's get to the polenta.

Polenta, Please!
1. Heat the olive oil in a saucepan until hot, but not smoking. Add the onions and cook, stirring, for three minutes or until soft. Stir in the Roasted Garlic Puree.

2. Add the water, milk, and heavy cream and bring the mixture to a simmer over high heat.

3. Add the cornmeal in a slow, steady stream, whisking constantly. Stir in the salt and pepper. Cook, stirring constantly, for 15-20 minutes, or until thick and bubbling.
4. Remove the saucepan from heat and stir in the cheeses, thyme, and sage. Garnish with parsley and serve hot.