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Culinary Escape to Spain
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Polenta Cups with Eggplant-Fennel Caponata and Pine Nuts

Contributed By: stacey, CA | See all of stacey's recipes
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Active Time:  1 Hour 25 Minutes
Total Time:  1 Hour 25 Minutes
  24 hors d'oeuvres
RECIPE INGREDIENTS
For the polenta cups:
3 cups vegetable broth
1 cup dry polenta
1/4 cup parmesan, freshly grated
2 tbsp Celtic sea salt
For the caponata:
1 tbsp butter
1 small onion, diced small
1 tsp salt, divided
1 large clove garlic, minced
1 small fennel bulb, diced small
3 small Italian eggplants, diced small
2 tbsp capers, drained and rinsed
1/2 cup vegetable broth
1/4 cup aged balsamic vinegar
1/4 fresh ground pepper
2 tbsp fresh thyme leaves, minced
1 tbsp fresh tarragon, minced
Remaining ingredients:
2-3 tbsp parmesan, freshly grated
2 tbsp pine nuts
DIRECTIONS
To prepare the polenta cups, heat vegetable broth in a medium saucepan over medium-high heat. Once boiling, reduce to medium-low and whisk in 1/4 cup polenta and salt. Simmer for 5-7 minutes, whisking often. Continue adding polenta by 1/4 cups, every 5-7 minutes, whisking continuously until polenta is soft. Stir in parmesan. Remove from heat and pour into a 9-inch round cake pan lined with parchment paper. Spread evenly and allow to cool completely until firm.


Meanwhile, in a large saute pan, melt butter over medium heat. Add onions and 1/4 teaspoon salt. Saute for 3 minutes until translucent. Add garlic and fennel and saute for 8 minutes until soft. Add eggplant, capers, broth and vinegar. Saute for 30 minutes until mixture is reduced and vegetables are soft. Stir in pepper, thyme and tarragon. Take off heat.


In a small saute pan on medium-low heat, add pine nuts and toast for 5 minutes, until just golden. Remove from heat and set aside.


To assemble cups, preheat oven to 400°. Using a 1 1/2 inch round biscuit cutter, carefully punch out polenta rounds and place them on a large rimmed baking sheet line with parchment paper, spaced 1 inch apart. With a 1/4 teaspoon measuring spoon, gently scoop out centers of each round to create cups. Spoon 1/2 teaspoon caponata into each cup. Top with parmesan. Bake cups for 15 minutes until golden. Allow to cool for 3 minutes before handling. Transfer to a large platter, carefully top with pine nuts and serve warm or at room temperature.


Date Added: 12/01/2009
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