If you're a regular reader of this blog, you'll have noticed my adoration of polenta. I don't think I'd ever really experienced it before this past April, but I've tried to fit it in as much as possible since. When I'm on my own for dinner, I used to have a bowl of cereal... now I whip up some polenta instead. Almost just as easy, but so yummy!! (I'll still indulge in a bowl of Peanut Butter Puffins, don't worry!)
This is the first time I'd cooked with pre-made polenta. I love that the whole tube only had 140 calories!!! The recipe called for plain polenta, but my Wegmans didn't carry plain (weird!), so I used sun-dried tomato.
We rent and thusly don't own a grill, but my square grill pan stood in nicely. I couldn't fit everything onto the pan, as the recipe instructs, so I started with the nectarines and chicken. I figured that the chicken needed to rest a bit before slicing, and the polenta didn't need to long in the pan. Worked out well.
I smooshed the blackberries down, as Dave doesn't care for their texture whole, which made the whole salsa purple - which I found pretty. :)
Now, I was a little worried, as the inclusion of fruit actually IN our dinner is a new concept for us, but each ingredient did their job beautifully. The crusty goodness of the outside of the polenta married nicely with its creamy interior. The juicy fruit made friends with both polenta and chicken. And all together in one bite was heaven.
This recipe comes from Eating Well magazine (link below), which I find to be a really fantastic resource for seasonal, healthy recipes. If you haven't checked it out already, grab it the next time you're at the bookstore. You won't be disappointed. :)
Grilled Chicken & Polenta with Nectarine-Blackberry Salsa
Eating Well Magazine, August 2007
1 tablespoon plus 1 teaspoon canola oil, divided
1 tablespoon ground cumin
1 teaspoon kosher salt, divided
3/4 teaspoon freshly ground pepper
1 16- to 18-ounce tube prepared plain polenta
1 pound boneless, skinless chicken breast, trimmed
2 nectarines, halved and pitted
1 pint blackberries, coarsely chopped
2 tablespoons chopped fresh cilantro
1 tablespoon lime juice
Hot sauce to taste
Preheat grill to medium-high.
Combine 1 tablespoon oil, cumin, 3/4 teaspoon salt and pepper in a small bowl. Rub 1 teaspoon of the mixture all over polenta. Rub the rest into both sides of chicken. Cut the polenta crosswise into 8 slices. Rub the cut sides of nectarine halves with the remaining 1 teaspoon oil.
Oil the grill rack. Place the chicken, polenta slices and nectarines on the grill. Grill the polenta until hot and slightly charred, 3 to 4 minutes per side. Transfer to a clean plate; tent with foil to keep warm. Grill the nectarines, turning occasionally, until tender, 6 to 8 minutes total. Grill the chicken, until cooked through and no longer pink in the middle, 6 to 8 minutes per side. Transfer the chicken and nectarines to a cutting board. Coarsely chop the nectarines. Let the chicken rest for 5 minutes, then thinly slice.
While the chicken rests, combine the chopped nectarines, blackberries, cilantro, lime juice, hot sauce and the remaining 1/4 teaspoon salt in a medium bowl. Layer the polenta, chicken and fruit salsa on 4 plates and serve.
Makes 4 servings.
Per serving: 317 calories; 8 g fat (1 g sat, 4 g mono); 63 mg cholesterol; 34 g carbohydrate; 27 g protein; 6 g fiber; 694 mg sodium; 458 mg potassium.