Seared Radicchio with Polenta and Beet Puree

seared radicchio with polenta and beet puree.JPG

Seared Radicchio with Polenta and Beet Puree

This is kind of a three part recipe where the beet puree is optional. We roasted the beets the night before, and put the rest together in a little over an hour. The polenta recipe will make much more polenta then needed, but we didn't want to alter the recipe in case the cooking time would be affected.

Beet Purée

3 Black Sheep Farm beets

3 sprigs parsley, stems removed

1 Tb water

1 tsp olive oil

Juice from ¼ lemon

¼ - ½ tsp cayenne pepper

Preheat oven to 400º F. Wrap beets in aluminum foil, and cook in oven for 1 hr to 1 hr 15 min. Remove, and let cool.

Slip beet peels off, and add with all other ingredients to food processor, and puree for about a minute. If its just chopping and not making a paste, add a bit more water.

Polenta

Creamy Parmesan Polenta from Cook’s Illustrated, Italian Favorites 2011

7 1/2 cups water
1 1/2 teaspoons table salt (we only use ¾ tsp)
Pinch baking soda
1 1/2 cups coarse-ground cornmeal
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
4 ounces Parmesan cheese, grated (about 2 cups), plus extra for serving
Ground black pepper

Bring water to boil in heavy-bottomed 4-quart saucepan over medium-high heat. Stir in salt and baking soda. Slowly pour cornmeal into water in steady stream, while stirring back and forth with wooden spoon or rubber spatula. Bring mixture to boil, stirring constantly, about 1 minute. Reduce heat to lowest possible setting and cover.

After 5 minutes, stir polenta to smooth out any lumps that may have formed, about 15 seconds. Cover and continue to cook,

without stirring, until grai

ns of polenta are tender but slightly al dente, about 25 minutes longer. (Polenta should be loose and barely hold its shape but will continue to thicken as it cools.)

Remove from heat and stir in butter and Parmesan. Let stand, covered, for 5 minutes. Serve, passing Parmesan and black pepper separately.

Radicchio

¼ c balsamic vinegar

2 radicchio heads, stem butt intact

1 leek

Olive oil

Salt and pepper

Cook balsamic in a shallow pan over lowest flame until viscous, about 15 min. Cut radicchio lengthwise into four quarters, keeping the stem butt intact in each quarter to hold the leaves together. Remove leek roots and tougher green leaves, and halve leek lengthwise. Gently toss leeks and radicchio in a bowl with olive oil salt and pepper to coat.

Heat a grill or cast iron skillet with grill ridges until very hot and reduce flame to medium high. Grill leeks, turning occasionally until marks appear, and flip cooking until heated through, about 3-5 minutes. Remove to cutting board. Place radicchio wedges, cut side down, and cook the same but only turning to sear the cut sides. Chop leeks when cool enough to handle.

Spoon polenta onto plate, and place radicchio along side, along with a small pile of the leeks and a large dollop of the beet puree. Drizzle plate with balsamic reduction.