Recipe: Farinata — Comfort In A Bowl
Margaret Roach, our Hudson Valley neighbor, is author of a trio of bestselling books, A Way to Garden, And I Shall Have Some Peace There, and The Backyard Parables. Formerly editorial director at Martha Stewart Living, Margaret publishes a wildly popular blog, A Way to Garden, called “the best garden blog” by the New York Times, and has graciously shared one of the recipes she developed while in the fog of a recent cornmeal bender.
I couldn’t resist the soft polenta on the menu one recent cold night at a local restaurant—creamy-style, and laced with cheese. With that warming, cozy meal’s memory in mind, I bought a pound of organic cornmeal for the pantry the next day, imagining simple, filling suppers-to-be. Apparently I’m now officially on a cornmeal bender, from farinata, to crispy cakes for supper, and even biscotti laced with coconut for dessert. A batch of polenta “fries” is coming up next. Things could be worse.
Farinata is one of my favorites. It’s pure peasant food–nothing more than cornmeal, water, and some kale or cabbage, brought to life with garlic, olive oil and Parmesan cheese.
Use kale, cabbage or another green if you prefer, to make this Italian-style porridge that’s quick, filling and perfect for those of us who consider such things as soupy polenta to be comfort food—and also love garlic. (Count me in on both scores.) This recipe was inspired by something a friend scribbled down from the old public-television show “Cucina Amore.”
½ lb. kale or cabbage or mix
6 cups water or vegetable broth (if the broth is salted, or you like a lot of Parmesan, adjust salt below)
1 teaspoon sea salt
¾ cup polenta (cornmeal); organic recommended to insure it’s GMO-free
½ cup grated Parmesan cheese
4 cloves minced or grated garlic, or to taste
¼ to ½ cup olive oil (with extra for garnish)
Wash and chop the greens; I use a coarse chiffonade cut (above photo), removing the toughest stem bits first.
Meantime, bring salted water (see above note) or stock to a rolling boil.
Reduce heat, cover, and simmer the greens until barely tender, just a few minutes, in the water or stock.
Gradually whisk in the cornmeal.
Cook on simmer until creamy, about 10 minutes.
Fold in the garlic, cheese and the oil; remove from heat.
Serve immediately in bowls garnished with more oil and pepper. Serves three (or two with seconds). When eating alone, I halve the recipe, and it’s a heaping portion and then some.
For me, a big bowlful is a meal–perhaps with a salad. For guests who eat meat? Grilled Italian-style sausages would make a perfect side dish.