Sunday, October 30, 2011

Polenta with Spinach, Raisins, and Pine Nuts

This elegant dish combines two of our favorite recipes - our Spinach with Raisins and Pine Nuts and our Pan-Grilled Polenta Rounds. Baby spinach is sauteed in garlic-infused olive oil with toasted pine nuts and wine-soaked raisins, and then served over lightly toasted polenta slices.

The result is impressive enough for a special holiday feast, but easy enough to make anytime.


1/4 cup raisins, black or golden
1/4 cup white wine (or water, if you don’t want to use wine)
1 tube of prepared polenta (plain)
2 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil, divided
1 pound fresh baby spinach
2 cloves garlic, thinly sliced
2 tablespoons pine nuts
Salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste

In the microwave or on the stove, heat the wine almost to a boil. Remove from the heat. Add the raisins to the wine. Let the raisins soak in the hot wine for about 15 minutes. Drain the raisins, and discard the wine. Place the drained raisins on paper towels to dry.

Cut the polenta into 8 slices.

Heat 1 tablespoon of the olive oil in a large skillet or grill pan over medium heat. Add the polenta slices, and cook, turning once, until heated through and lightly browned on both sides. Keep warm until ready to use.

Meanwhile, rinse the spinach, but do not dry. The water clinging to the spinach will help to steam it during the cooking process.

In a separate large skillet, saute the spinach over medium-high heat just until wilted. Transfer the wilted spinach to a colander and set aside.

Wipe any spinach liquid from the skillet, and then heat the remaining 1 tablespoon of olive oil over medium heat. Add the garlic, and saute for a minute or two until golden and fragrant. Do not let the garlic burn. When the garlic is golden, remove it from the pan and discard.

Add the pine nuts to the garlic-infused oil in the skillet, and saute over medium heat for a few minutes until the pine nuts are lightly golden.

Add the raisins to the skillet and saute for another minute. Be careful not to let the pine nuts burn.

Return the spinach to the skillet, along with salt and pepper to taste.

Saute over medium heat for another 2-3 minutes to reheat the spinach and blend all the flavors.

To serve, arrange the polenta slices on serving plate(s). Top with the spinach mixture.

-- 4 servings (2 polenta slices per serving)

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