Layered Eggplant and Polenta Casserole

A few nights ago I made “Shrimp and Grits” but instead of grits, I used polenta. It was really tasty and I will share the recipe with you some time in the future. But we had leftover polenta in the fridge and I did not want it to go to waste. Looking through our recipes I came across this one, which I made last night. And let me tell you folks, it was GOOD! Easy and stunning feel good meal.

One could make this with those store-bought polenta tubes in a pinch, but for my money nothing is as good as home-made polenta. It is easy to make, just a bit time-consuming. I have included my recipe for polenta here. You will need to make it ahead of time to allow it to chill and get firm.

The Eggplant and Polenta Casserole is kind of like a lasagna made with polenta instead of pasta. I got the idea for this from a Martha Stewart recipe, but I changed it substantially, for the better I think because hers had no cheese! What?

Anyway, I suggest you try making this. You will be doing yourself and your family a real favor!

A basic polenta recipe.

Serves: 4

Basic Polenta


INGREDIENTS

4 cups, Chicken Stock – or water
1 teaspoon, Salt
1/4 teaspoon, white pepper – ground
1 cup, Coarse yellow cornmeal

METHOD

  1. For Basic Polenta: Mix one cup of liquid with the cornmeal and stir. This prevents the cornmeal from lumping when added to the boiling liquid.
  2. Bring the remaining stock or water to a boil in a 3 quart sauce pot and add the salt and pepper.
  3. To the boiling stock, pour the cornmeal slurry in a steady stream, stirring constantly until completely added. Simmer over low heat, stirring often, until done, about 45 minutes. When done, polenta will pull away from the sides of the pot and will be soft in texture.
  4. Remove the pot from the heat and finish as desired. I like to add a bit of butter, and sometimes cheese. Adjust the consistency with stock or water, if necessary. Season with salt and pepper, if necessary.
  5. Serve as soft polenta immediately or polenta can be poured onto a greased half-sheet pan and refrigerated until cool and firm. Shapes can be cut and lightly grilled, or baked.

 

Author: Martha Stewart with modifications by Jim Kirkley

Serves: 4

Layered Eggplant and Polenta Casserole


INGREDIENTS

3 cups, jarred marinara sauce – we like Barilla Marinara Sauce
1 batch, Basic Polenta – see recipe
2 tablespoons, extra virgin olive oil
kosher salt
1 medium, eggplant – sliced into 1/4-inch rounds
1 pound, mozzarella cheese – (16-ounce) sliced into 1/4-inch rounds

METHOD

  1. Heat oven to 400 degrees
  2. Preheat barbecue grill
  3. Slice polenta into squares about 1/2 inch thick.
  4. Lay eggplant slices on the barbecue grill. Brush with olive oil and sprinkle with salt. Flip over and repeat. Grill eggplant until nicely browned on both sides. Transfer to a plate.
  5. Spoon about 1/2 cup tomato sauce into a 9-inch square baking dish, spreading to coat evenly. Arrange eggplant slices snugly in a single layer. Top each round with a slice of mozzarella cheese. Spoon about 1 cup tomato sauce over eggplant, and arrange polenta rounds in slightly overlapping slices on top. Repeat with sauce and another layer of eggplant. Finish by dotting with remaining tomato sauce.
  6. Cover with foil; bake until bubbling and juicy, about 45 minutes. Remove foil; continue baking until sauce is lightly caramelized and eggplant is tender, about 15 minutes more. Remove from oven; let cool slightly, and serve.

 

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