Every creamy bite is ambrosia! I bought a tube of gluten-free San Gennaro Basil-Garlic Polenta at Publix the other day thinking I would serve it with some marinara as usual. But then the day I would prepare it for dinner came and about mid day my mom mentioned she had a hankering, a craving, for Avocado. The light went off in my head — polenta with avocado pesto! Why not!?! Polenta is used in Italian, French, and Swiss cuisine. It is made from boiled cornmeal that can be left plain or seasoned with herbs and consumed hot as a porridge or allowed to cool and solidify into a loaf, which is then baked, fried, or grilled. You can opt to make it from scratch or just buy it from the cooler section in the store already set up in a tube like I did. By the way, there are often links in my posts which take you to see the product I am talking about as a reference, but if you did make a purchase I would receive a commission which helps me maintain my page.
Cooking Polenta is simple. I slice the tube open and remove the plastic and then slice the polenta into even slices using a sharp knife. You can slice it through the plastic if you choose, but be sure to remove all the plastic before cooking. I use my largest saute pan so I have plenty of space to cook slices without crowding. Pre-heat the pan and drizzle some olive oil. Using a hot pan is key to getting the golden brown and delicious crust on each side of your slices that tastes so good! Once your pan is good and hot, carefully lay in as many slices as you can without crowding. You should hear a nice sizzle as you lay them in the pan. Allow them to cook for two minutes before turning. If they are not golden yet, allow them to cook 3 minutes on the new side and turn them to the first side again for a minute or so until it has some gold too.
Making the pesto is easy. While you are waiting to turn your polenta you can busy yourself making the creamy, dreamy pesto sauce 0 just don’t forget about your polenta! I used my Magic Bullet blender, but any blender or processor will do the job. After slicing my avocado in half I give it a twist to help remove the pit from at least one half. The half that the pit remains lodged in, I scoop out into the blender cup with a spoon, setting the pit aside. I have yet to successfully sprout an avocado seed, I got one to root once, but no sprout. But I keep trying anyway. The other half I slice while it is still in the skin and reserve 4 nice slices for garnish, the rest goes in the blender cup. To keep the avocado from browning I douse it in a splash of lime juice that equates to about a cap full or teaspoon of juice. Season with sea salt and black pepper and a generous couple of shakes of Kirkland No Salt Seasoning which is a lovely compilation of herbs, spices and dehydrated vegetables. Next I add a couple of tables spoons of pine nuts which really is optional since the avocado is so creamy on it’s own. and then add a few sprigs of fresh herbs like mint and parsley. I use equal parts olive oil and dry white wine, in this case a Chardonnay to help emulsify the sauce as I blend it down into some creamy flavorful goodness. Once it is completely blended smooth and reaches the desired consistency (use equa; parts oil and wine to thin it as desired) set it aside to finish cooking your polenta.
Once my polenta is all cooked (I had to cook it in two batches) I set it on a paper plate to absorb any excess oil while. During the second batch I also prepared a small meat entree, a 3.5 ounce boneless rib-eye steak that I rubbed generously with sea salt, coarse black pepper, garlic powder, and no-salt seasoning and then rolled it up roulade fashion. I Placed them seam side down on a baking sheet I had sprayed lightly with coconut cooking spray into a preheated 400º oven for 2 minutes, flipped them and let them finish cooking for 3 minutes. This gave me plenty of time to finish with the polenta and pesto. This is a vegetarian entree but you could pair it with meat or fish or shrimp. To plate, I placed a healthy dollop of pest on each plate and smeared it diagonally from a thicker side to a thinner. I arranged the hot polenta slices across the smear of pesto, the heat from the polenta actually warms the pesto. Place a slice of fresh avocado next to it with my roulade flanking the other side and a sprig of fresh parsley on top. Bellissimo!! Everything was melt in your mouth delicious. I got such raves from my family they said they wanted the same thing for breakfast — my concession to that request was avocado toast, but that is another post. 😉
- Basil Garlic Polenta
- 1 Ripe Haas Avocado
- 2-3 cloves garlic
- 3 sprigs fresh mint
- 3 sprigs fresh parsley plus one for garnishing
- 2 T Pine Nuts (optional)
- Olive Oil
- White Wine (Chardonnay)
- 1 tsp Lime Juice
- Sea Salt
- Black Pepper
- Kirkland No Salt Seasoning
- Drizzle olive oil in a large saute pan and preheat the pan.
- Slice the polenta into even slices, be sure to peel all the plastic off.
- Lay slices of polenta carefully into the hot pan. Allow 2 minutes per side until you get a nice golden crust on each slice.
- Slice the avocado in half and twist to remove the pit from one side, scoop it into your blender cup.
- Slice the other half into slices and remove four slices for garnishing, scoop the rest into the blender cup.
- Season the avocado with salt, pepper, no-salt seasoning, and lime juice
- Put mint, parsley, pine nuts, a generous drizzle of olive oil and a splash of Chardonnay and process smooth. Add equal amounts of additional oil and wine to thin pesto to the desired consistency.
- Spoon a dollop of pesto on each plate and smear it diagonally.
- Layer 3-4 slices of hot crispy polenta on the thick smear of pesto.
- Garnish with fresh parsley and a slice of avocado.
- Serve immediately.