Baked Italian Eggplant Polenta with Parmesan & No Place like Om

Aug 9, 2011
Posted by on Aug 9, 2011 in all, vegetarian / vegan | No Comments

It is an unwritten rule that if your partner or spouse goes away for any period of time, the children and animals will give you trouble.

Today is no exception. 5am? Cue the dog vomit. 5.30am cue the daughter hunched over the toilet.  5.45am cue the dog again along with the worried Daniel who slept in the hall outside my room and has been trampled on by the dog and his sister. The good news? I had to cancel my dentist appointment.

That, and polenta with narrow Italian eggplant from our farm share. This dish is a great way to use up whatever leftover cheeses you have – parmesan or cheddar or fontina or a mix. If you want to do vegan, drop in some caramelized onions for extra flavor. The result is a crisp-edged, comforting cheese-enhanced easy dinner that you can enjoy by yourself if no one else is feeling up to it.

I’ll enjoy mine after a hour on my yoga mat this afternoon. I often find myself dreading going to yoga because it takes effort to get there, and more than that, effort for me to switch my brain off or give myself permission not to worry about everyone else and my daily routine. But in the hot room with everyone breathing and my body stretching and working hard, I know I’ll find some peace and energy after this crazy morning. There’s no place like home for love and for chaos and no place like the yoga mat for a much-needed respite. Om.

Baked Italian Eggplant Polenta with Parmesan

4 1/2 cups vegetable stock

1 pinch sea salt

1 1/2 cups polenta

2 Italian eggplants, ends trimmed and sliced 1/2 inch thick and SPRINKLED WITH 1 TBSP SALT FOR 30 min

2 tbsp butter

3 tbsp olive oil

1/3 cup parmesan

1/3 cup shredded/crumbled other cheese of choice (think about chevre or cheddar or gorgonzola for depth)

Oven to 350. Boil stock and add salt. Pour in polenta in a steady stream, stirring with a wooden spoon as you do so. As the polenta cooks for 15-20 minutes, stir. At the 15 minute mark, add the parmesan and stir just once or twice (too much will make the cheese stringy). Meanwhile, use a 1 tbsp butter and 1 of olive oil in skillet to briefly cook eggplant slices. Don't fuss with them too much, just cook them in a single layer and when they brown, remove them from heat. Add 2 tbsp olive oil and mix gently.

Butter casserole dish and place a layer of eggplant on the bottom. Sprinkle with a bit of the cheese. Add most of the polenta. Add the rest of the eggplant slices and top with remaining polenta. Sprinkle cheese on top. Bake for 20-25 minutes. Serve with salad or mixed garlic mushrooms.