Polenta made from fresh sweetcorn is almost like baby food, but in a good sense. It is smooth, sweet and soothing, a bit like a chunky savoury porridge. It is my ideal heart-warming supper meal. Just keep in mind that it is nothing like regular polenta made from cornmeal – it is softer and not as substantial.
This dish is a variation on a recipe by two inspiring Israeli food writers, Haim Cohen and Eli Landau.
6 corn cobs
40g butter, diced
200g feta, crumbled
1⁄4 tsp salt, black pepper
150ml vegetable oil
1 medium aubergine, cut into 2cm dice
2 tsp tomato purée
60ml white wine
200g chopped peeled tomatoes (fresh or canned)
1⁄4 tsp salt
1⁄4 tsp sugar
1 tbsp chopped oregano
1. Start by making the aubergine sauce. Heat up the oil in a large saucepan and fry the aubergine on a medium heat for about 15 minutes, or until nicely brown. Drain off as much oil as you can and discard it. Add the tomato purée to the pan and stir with the aubergines. Cook for 2 minutes, then add the wine and cook for 1 minute. Add the chopped tomatoes, water, salt, sugar and oregano and cook for a further 5 minutes to get a deep-flavoured sauce. Set aside; warm it up when needed.
2. To make the polenta, remove the leaves and ‘silk’ from each corn cob, then chop off the pointed top and stalk. Stand each cob upright on its base and use a sharp knife to shave off the kernels. You want to have 550g of kernels.
3. Place the kernels in a medium saucepan and cover them with the water. Cook for 12 minutes on a low simmer. Use a slotted spoon to lift the kernels from the water and into a food processor; reserve the cooking liquid. Process them for quite a few minutes, to break as much of the kernel case as possible. Add some of the cooking liquid if the mixture becomes too dry to process.
4. Now return the corn paste to the pan with the cooking liquid and cook, while stirring, on a low heat for 10–15 minutes, or until the mixture thickens to a mashed potato consistency. Fold in the butter, the feta, salt and some pepper and cook for a further 2 minutes. Taste and add more salt if needed.
5. Divide the polenta among shallow bowls and spoon some warm aubergine sauce in the centre.