Soft Spinach Polenta with Grilled Tomatoes and Pinenuts

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This is a simple and quite filling lunch or brunch.  I’ll admit that I haven’t always been a fan of polenta in it’s softer, creamy form. Sometimes it reminds me of bland mushy gruel!  And it never looks too appetising either, a bit grainy and lumpy and bleugh!  I usually prefer it to be hardened and then baked or fried to add texture and flavour.   Soft polenta on it’s own is certainly not very exciting… (Does anyone disagree?!)
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However depending on what you combine it with, you can create a soft polenta with great texture and flavour. The pine nuts add texture and wonderful earthy flavour while the juice of the warm tomatoes add a sharper taste and moisture to the creamy thick polenta.   To be honest I only made this meal because I was too lazy and hungry to wait for the polenta to set as I usually do, so I decided to try to make soft polenta more tasty and appetising.  Trust me, it worked!
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This quantity also makes enough for some of the polenta mixture to be reserved and set, to be fried or baked later.  You may as well if you’re already boiling some up!  Simply pour the remaining soft polenta in to a shallow oiled dish or tray and allow to harden.  The hardened polenta can then be sliced and baked or fried.
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Polenta is made from finely ground corn meal.  It is a great alternative to use for wheat free or gluten free cooking.  I always try to use all organic ingredients where possible, although I understand that this is not always feasible.  I have however stressed organic polenta in this recipe due to the high levels of GMO corn on the market.  Polenta is a great source of dietary fibre and anti oxidant phytonutrients.  It is also high in complex carbohydrates, which means that it is slowly digested by the body and is great for providing long term energy.
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INGREDIENTS:
  • 120g organic polenta
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 big handfuls spinach leaves
  • 2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
  • 1/2 tsp thyme
  • 1/2 tsp rosemary
  • 1 tomato
  • 1 tbsp pine nuts
 Boil 750ml of water along with some salt, and then lower the heat.  Slowly pour the polenta in to the water, stirring constantly until the mixture thickens. Add the herbs, some pepper and the garlic.  Stir to combine.  Pour in the olive oil.  Tear the spinach and stir in to the mixture. Continue to simmer, for about 20 minutes, stirring occasionally, until the mixture is very thick.  Meanwhile cut the tomato in half and place on a baking tray under the grill/broiler, along with the pinenuts.  Spoon half of the polenta in to a bowl and top with the tomatoes and pine nuts.  Season with salt and pepper.
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