Vegetable and Polenta Platter

1 extra large vegetable-flavor bouillon cube
salt
coarsely ground black pepper
1 cup yellow cornmeal
2 tablespoons grated parmesan cheese
1 small eggplant (about 1 1/4 pounds)
2 medium-size red peppers
1 medium-size green pepper
2 small zucchini (about 8 ounces each)
1 pound large mushrooms
3 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
2 tablespoons olive oil
1/2 teaspoon dried thyme leaves
thyme sprigs for garnish

1. Prepare polenta: Line 9-inch round cake pan with plastic wrap. In 2-quart saucepan over high heat, heat bouillon, 1/4 teaspoon salt, 1/4 teaspoon pepper, and 3 cups water to boiling. Reduce heat to low; with wire whisk, gradually whisk in cornmeal in a slow, steady stream to prevent lumping. Cook 4 to 5 minutes, whisking constantly, until mixture is thick and all liquid is absorbed. Whisk in Parmesan cheese and cook 1 minute longer, whisking constantly. Spoon cornmeal mixture into cake pan; set aside (polenta will be firm in about 15 minutes).

2. Prepare vegetables for grilling: Cut eggplant crosswise into 1/4-inch-thick slices. Cut each pepper lengthwise into quarters; discard seeds. Slice zucchini lengthwise into 1/4-inch-thick slices. Trim tough stem ends from mushrooms; leave mushrooms whole.

3. Preheat broiler if manufacturer directs. In small bowl, with fork, mix balsamic vinegar, olive oil, dried thyme leaves, 1/2 teaspoon salt, 1/4 teaspoon pepper, and 1 tablespoon water.

4. Spray rack in broiling pan with nonstick cooking spray. Arrange eggplant in single layer on rack. Using about half of balsamic-vinegar dressing, brush both sides of eggplant to coat lightly. With broiling pan about 3 to 5 inches from source of heat, broil eggplant slices until tender and brown around edges, turning them once, about 7 to 10 minutes. Remove eggplant to platter; keep warm.

5. Arrange zucchini and peppers on same rack in broiling pan; brush with some dressing to coat all sides. Broil zucchini and peppers until vegetables are tender and brown around edges, turning once, about 10 to 15 minutes. Remove zucchini and peppers to platter with eggplant.

6. Arrange mushrooms on rack in broiling pan; brush with remaining dressing. Broil until mushrooms are tender, 5 to 10 minutes.

7. Remove polenta from pan; discard plastic wrap. Cut polenta into 8 wedges. Spray large cookie sheet with nonstick cooking spray. Arrange polenta on cookie sheet; broil 5 to 10 minutes until lightly browned and heated through.

8. To serve, arrange polenta wedges and vegetables on 4 warm dinner plates. Garnish with thyme sprigs.

Serves: 4



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