"What you having for your tea tonight?"
I get asked this question by a young man at work every night of the week. "It's Thursday, so its kitchen scraps tonight". And indeed it was. I stood outside the grocers tonight for a fair while this evening and eventually decided that I was going to use what I found in the kitchen.
I had an onion, a clove of garlic and a tin of tomatoes as well as a good handful of dried oregano. in the freezer were a bag of broad beans. Needless to say I also had salt, pepper, olive oil and a few other bits and pieces.
The other thing was a bag of polenta. Polenta is a ground cornmeal made of maize. It is a totally neutral product that can be flavoured in any way you like.
You make it by boiling a large pan of salted water. When the water is boiling, swirl it round with a spoon and pour in the polenta. Keep stirring to avoid it becoming lumpy. As it thickens, keep stirring it and then once its nice and thick let it bubble away gently. Turn the heat off after a while and let it settle.
For this recipe, pour the polenta into a buttered baking tin keeping it about half an inch thick. Stick this tin into an oven heated to about gas mark 6. This will dry it out.
Next, slice the onion and the garlic and saute it in a pan with some olive oil and butter. Give it about ten minutes and then lob in the oregano, broad beans and the can of tomatoes. Sling in some salt and pepper. While its stewing down, transfer the polenta to a freezer to cool it down. Once done, turn it out and cut it into round 'scallops'.
Get some oil really hot in a pan and then flash fry the polenta scallops so that they are crispy on the outside on both sides. Dry on a paper towel then arrange on a plate. Spoon the broad bean mixture round it and enjoy. Very simple. A bit time consuming making the polenta, but worth it.
Cost wise, I reckon about £1 for four. You could make a smaller version as a starter, or make a few more and have it as a main course. Either way, a very tasty tea!