Monday, February 13, 2012

Polenta Stacks with Truffled Arugula and Romanesco Broccoli Mash

Have you ever seen Romanesco broccoli? It is absolutely stunning! The light green color and intricate detail of this veggie is amazing. My boyfriend, who is an Engineer, appreciates it for its logarithmic spiral and natural fractal. Whoah! To each their own. I just like to eat it J

Though many people think that Romanesco broccoli is a new modern-day cross between broccoli and cauliflower – it is actually an ancient vegetable. In fact, it was first documented in Italy back in the 16th century and is a member of the brassica family.

And of course, no blog post found on Nourish would be complete without bragging about its excellent nutritional benefits! This lovely veggie contains more Vitamin A and C than the typical white cauliflower due to its green hue. Green = Chlorophyll! Chlorophyll increases the production of red blood cells and enhances the cells’ ability to carry oxygen.  This green goodness also strengthens the immune system, decreases inflammation, improves circulation, and offsets harmful free radicals. It is also rich in fiber and carotenoids, and like other cruciferous vegetables, it may prevent some forms of cancer.

Today’s post features the beautiful Romanesco broccoli but feel free to substitute traditional broccoli or cauliflower if you cannot find this in your local market. I turned this detailed vegetable into a puree or mash, paired it with some truffled arugula (yum!) and stacked it with polenta. Hope you enjoy it!

1 cup of Polenta
3 ¼ cups warm water
¼ cup on green onions, thinly sliced
1 medium Romanesco broccoli (or substitute of choice)
1 garlic clove peeled and minced
2 cups of arugula (I also used pea sprouts because I had them in my fridge)
¼ cup raw cream (use soy milk to keep it dairy free)
2 tablespoons of goat cheese
2 teaspoons of black truffle oil
EVOO (Extra Virgin Olive Oil)
Sea salt

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Place the water, polenta, green onion, one tablespoon of EVOO, and one teaspoon of salt in a large bowl. Stir with a fork until well blended and then transfer mixture to an 8-inch square pan (sprayed with olive oil). Bake uncovered for 50 minutes. Remove from oven, slice into squares, and then bake for an additional ten minutes. When it has firmed up nicely, remove from the oven and set aside.

While the polenta is baking, wash and cut the Romanesco broccoli into even segments and place in a large bowl. Add the minced garlic, drizzle with olive oil and sprinkle with sea salt. Use your hands to make sure all the veggie segments have been coated with oil. Place the Romanesco broccoli on a large baking pan (with edges) and roast for 25 minutes.

In the mean time, place the arugula and pea shoots (if using) in a bowl. Add the truffle oil and mix with your hands. Set aside until you’re ready to assemble your stacks.

Once the Romanesco broccoli has finished roasting, remove it from the oven and transfer to a high-speed blender or food processor. Add the goat cheese and cream and blend until desired consistency has been reached. Feel free to add water or veggie stock if you prefer your mash or puree to be thinner.

Now it’s time to assemble your masterpiece! Place one square slice of polenta on a plate, top with Romanesco broccoli mash, sprinkle with arugula and repeat each step once more. Feel free to sprinkle some additional goat cheese on top and serve!

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