I have yet to find a polenta-based dish I don't adore. And Yotam was kind enough to provide me with yet another means of enjoying some sweet corn action, combined with a glorious Italian eggplant sauce.
Now, fair warning, this is not standard polenta. You create a polenta-type meal from fresh corn kernels, butter, and feta and you blitz it all to oblivion. And how could that be wrong?
I used the eggplant sauce that Yotam recommends with the dish, but really, you can use any of your favorite polenta topping with this one. Cheese, mushrooms, the list is endless if you're as big a polenta fan as I am. But the eggplant sauce is good and perfect for a cold winter's night.
2/3 cup vegetable oil
1 medium eggplant, cut into 3/4-inch dice
2 tsp tomato paste
1/4 cup white wine
1 cup chopped peeled tomatoes (fresh or canned)
6 1/2 tbsp water
1/4 tsp sugar
1/4 tsp salt
1 tbsp chopped oregano
6 ears of corn
2 1/4 cups water
3 tbsp butter, diced
7 oz feta, crumbled
1/4 tsp salt
Heat up oil in a large saucepan and fry the eggplant on medium heat for about 15minutes, or until nicely brown. Drain off as much oil as you can and discard it. Add the tomato paste to the pan and stir with the eggplant. Cook for 2 minutes, then add the wine and cook for 1 minute. Add the chopped tomatoes, water, salt, sugar, oregano and cook for a further 5 minutes to get a deep-flavored sauce. Set aside; warm it up when needed.
Remove the leaves and silk from each ear of corn, then chop off the pointed top and stalk. Stand each ear upright on its base and use a sharp knife to shave off the kernels. You want to have 1 1/4 lbs of kernels.
Place the kernels in a medium saucepan and cover them with the 2 1/4 cups water. Cook for 12 minutes on a low simmer. Use a slotted spoon to lift the kernels from the water and into a food processor (or just use an immersion blender to save space and time) and reserve the cooking liquid. Process/Blend them for quite a few minutes, to break as much of the kernel case as possible. Add some of the cooking liquid if the mixture becomes too dry to process.
Now return the corn paste to the pan with the cooking liquid and cook, while stirring, on low heat for 10-15 minutes, or until the mixture thickens to a mashed potato consistency. Fold in the butter, the feta, salt, and some pepper and cook for a further 2 minutes. Taste and add more salt if needed.
Divide the polenta among shallow bowls and spoon some warm eggplant sauce in the center.