Tuesday, January 7, 2014

Pierini Polenta antipasto

Most middle-aged men are decent cooks and each of us has our own specialty.  Mine has changed over the years. 

About ten years ago, homemade soups were my specialties and later Tex-Mex style fajitas became this chef's special.

I've always liked my culinary creations more than my wife does so that means larger servings for me.

My favorite is now antipasto I’ve named Pierini Polenta. Allow me the privilege of sharing my recipe with you.

My wife and I frequently shop at Trader Joe's, a food specialty retail store with locations in nine U.S. states so if by some chance you're reading this from the tip of South America, there's not one in your neighborhood.  

Trader Joe's Organic Polenta comes in an 18 ounce tube and never needs refrigeration before opening. It's completely cooked — just heat before serving. I slice it into cookie-size servings, drizzle each piece front and back in olive oil and then heat in a convection oven for about 20 to 30 minutes.

While the polenta is being heated, I stir fry, in a pan of olive oil, a combination of diced sweet mini bell peppers and red onions sprinkled with dry basil (fresh basil also works and is actually better). Eventually, I add sun-dried tomatoes during the last couple minutes. 

It's a matter of personal preference how much of the sun-dried tomatoes to add; too much is overwhelming and not enough fails to capture the flavor accent it provides.  

You'll need to discover your own preference.

My final topping are small slices of mozzarella cheese.

It's an accent topping that shouldn't overwhelm the other flavors.

Take the heated polenta out of the oven and top each slice with the stir fried combination of sweet mini bell peppers, red onions and sun-dried tomatoes. Then top with the sliced mozzarella cheese.  

You're finished culinary delight should look something like this:  

You might like to savor your piatto di antipasto with una bottiglia di vino.

Hey middle-aged man, give it a try, put on your apron and make a batch and impress your wife and friends.  

After your plate is wiped clean, lick your lips and wipe your middle-aged man moustache clean and, while thinking about the culinary delight you just experienced, shout "era squisito" that Pierini Polenta antipasto.

Pax Domini sit semper vobiscum

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