Roasted Vegetable & Herbed Polenta Stack Appetizer w/Smoked Tomato Puree and Basil Pesto

Yield 5 Servings

To make the Polenta:

  • 1 quart Vegetable broth or water
  • 1 cup Polenta (substitute Yellow Corn Meal, if Polenta is unavailable)
  • 8 Large Basil Leaves- Chopped
  • ¼ cup Italian (Flat Leaf) Parsley- Chopped
  • Sea Salt & Pepper-To Taste
  • ½ cup Parmesan (optional)

    Bring the vegetable broth to a boil and quickly whisk in the polenta. Immediately reduce to medium and cook for 8-10 minutes, whisking often until thick. (* Caution: This will splatter, if temperature is too high.) After 8-10 minutes turn stove off and stir in the herbs, parmesan cheese (if used) and season with salt and pepper to taste. Spread the polenta onto a pan that would allow the polenta to measure 1/2 to ¾ inches thickness (approximately 12” x 3” rectangle). Cover and refrigerate until completely cool. After completely cool cut into 5 equal portions and set aside.

    To make Roasted Vegetables:

  • 1 Medium Zucchini- cut ¼ “ on a Bias
  • 1 Large Red Bell Pepper
  • 1 Medium Eggplant- cut ¼” width wise
  • 2-3 Large Portobello Mushroom-stem and gills removed
  • 1 Large Tomatoes- quartered
  • Olive Oil
  • Balsamic Vinegar (or any other acid if balsamic is unavailable)
  • Salt & Pepper-To Taste

    Pre-heat oven to 450 degrees. Drizzle the olive oil and balsamic vinegar over the vegetables tossing to coat, then season with salt and pepper. Roast for 5-10 minutes or until the vegetables begin to lightly brown and turn over, cooking for an additional 5 minutes. Place the roasted pepper into a paper bag or in a bowl and cover. When cool enough to handle, remove the skin and seeds and allow to continue cooling with the rest of the vegetables.

    Smoked Tomato Puree:

    *Smoking the tomato is optional. If you haven’t the capabilities, desire and/or equipment, roast both tomatoes with the roasted vegetables.

  • 1 Large Tomato (skinned, seeded and cut in half)
  • 3-4 Garlic cloves (from roasted vegetables)
  • 2-3 Basil leaves
  • 1 Roasted Tomato (from roasted vegetables)
  • Sugar-To taste
  • Vegetable Broth-to thin
  • Salt & Pepper- to taste
  • 1c. Wood chips

    Soak the wood chips in water for 30 minutes. Drain and place into what you intend to smoke the tomato. When smoker is ready smoke the tomato for 5-10 minutes. Allow to cool. Puree the first 4 ingredients. Thin to the consistency you desire and adjust seasoning with salt, pepper and sugar. Pass through a strainer.

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