A bright sunny dish perfect for the British summer; using gorgeous fresh summer veg, served with a warming polenta. Feel free to mix up the veg and herbs to use whatever you have or prefer.
Summer Veg and Herby Polenta
For the polenta
1litre veg stock approx. (you may need a little extra)
3 bay leaves
good pinch Malden salt to taste
3-4 tbsp olive oil
1 large or 2 small courgette
2 corn on the cob
200g cherry tomatoes
1 clove garlic, grated
small handful parsley, dill or basil
salt & pepper to taste
50g toasted pumpkin seeds
150ml olive oil
1 jalapeno or fresh green chili
small handful spinach
Bring the stock to the boil in a large a pan along with the bay leaves and simmer for 5 minutes. Remove the bay leaves and add the polenta whisking as you do to stop lumps from forming. Cover the pan and simmer on low whisking every few minutes to stop it sticking. Add more stock if needed, you want the final consistency to be smooth and creamy but not grainy. Once it’s ready, season and stir though chopped spinach for a burst of colour.
While the polenta is cooking prepare the rest of your ingredients.
To make the jalapeno oil, slice the chili; add to a small pan with the oil and spinach. The spinach just adds an extra depth of colour. Heat to 80 degrees Celsius, on a low heat this will just take 2-3 minutes, it shouldn’t boil. Take off the heat and blend until emulsified, strain through a sieve and set aside.Heat a grill pan. Slice the courgette into 1 cm rounds and brush with oil. Grill for a minute or so on each side, just so you have char lines then turn. (I like a little crunch in my courgette). Remove and cut into halves or quarters depending on the size, then transfer to a mixing bowl.
Steam the corn for 3 minutes. Once cool enough to handle carefully slice the corn from the cob, trying to keep largish chunks. If you’d like these a little browned you can add them to your hot frying pan with a touch of oil, but careful not to move them around too much and break the nibs up.
Half the tomatoes, heat a medium frying pan and add a tablespoon of oil, then the tomatoes to cook for just a couple of minutes. Transfer to the bowl with the courgette, add your herbs of choice, season, mix through and carefully stir in the corn.
Serve on top of your polenta with a drizzle of jalapeno oil and sprinkled of pumpkin seeds.
* Please note; the cooking time will depend on the type of polenta so check the packet how coarse the grain is. It can range from 5 minutes to 15 to 50 minutes. I advise buying something on in between, check packet for instructions.