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March 10, 2008

Pan "Fried" Feta and Thyme Polenta with Caramelized Onions

Pan "Fried" Feta and Thyme Polenta with Caramelized Onions

Polenta is a food I have just recently discovered. For years I associated it with grits and as I've mentioned before I'm not a fan of those, but polenta itself is a healthy, whole grain, alternative to other starchy side dishes. (And for those of you who didn't know it's a Weight Watchers Core food as well!)

This version involves seasoning the base polenta with thyme and feta, letting it set up, cutting it into squares, pan "frying" the squares and then topping them with caramelized onions. The taste combination really melds together well and the whole dish is hearty and filling, which is always a good thing when you're trying to eat less. Healthy most definitely does not have to be boring!

What You'll Need:
1 cup of polenta (Note: I used Bob's Red Mill.)
3-4 cups of water or broth
Sea salt
Freshly ground black pepper
3 ounces of fat free feta
1 teaspoon of dried thyme
2 tablespoons of Greek yogurt (Note: I like Oikos.)
Extra virgin olive oil
1 onion, cut into small wedges

In a medium sized pan bring 3-4 cups of water or broth to a boil. Stir in polenta and reduce heat to a simmer. Cook until polenta is thick and creamy, usually about 3-5 minutes, stirring occasionally.

Remove polenta from heat and stir in a pinch of sea salt, some freshly ground black pepper, thyme, Greek yogurt and feta and stir to incorporate. Pour polenta into an 8 X 8 inch dish that has been sprayed with non-stick spray and spread out evenly. Let sit for 30 minutes to an hour until polenta is set up. (Note: You can do this in the fridge if you want. You could even do it the day before you want to use the polenta.)

Once polenta is set up cut into roughly 9 squares. Heat a medium sized skillet over medium heat and add a little olive oil (just enough to coat the bottom of the pan). Place squares into the pan and "fry" on each side until golden brown. Top with caramelized onions. (See below.)

In a separate pan or skillet cook onion in a little extra virgin olive oil (1 tablespoon tops) until onion is caramelized. Use to top the polenta. (Note: If you choose to let the polenta sit overnight then do this right before you get ready to serve.)

Notes: You could use rosemary instead of thyme or any other herb you like. You could also add another cheese. I prefer fat free feta because it's one of the few cheeses that actually tastes ok in fat free form. Most fat free cheese taste like cardboard, but feta retains it's body and flavor even when made fat free.

P.S. Oh and don't forget the March edition of the Dianne's Dishes contest series for your chance to win some free herbs and spices!

Posted by Dianne at March 10, 2008 1:25 PM

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I've never made polenta like this, but it sounds delicious!

Posted by: Deborah at March 10, 2008 1:53 PM

Oh, wow. That looks so good! I love polenta!

Posted by: Allie at March 10, 2008 4:51 PM

I really am enjoying finding new things to do with polenta. It blends so well with other things!

Posted by: Dianne at March 10, 2008 7:46 PM

Ooo this looks really good!

Posted by: Ashley at March 13, 2008 1:31 AM

Thanks! Next time I think I'll try it with goat cheese or blue cheese and maybe some rosemary! :o)

Posted by: Dianne at March 13, 2008 12:19 PM

I've been following your blog for quite a while and enjoying your wealth of good recipes. When Foodista announced that they are going to publish the best food blogs in a full color book that will be published by Andrews McMeel Publishing Fall 2010, I naturally thought of you. This recipe would be a good submission! You can enter here: http://www.foodista.com/blogbook/submit


Editor and Community Developer
Foodista.com -- The Cooking Encyclopedia Everyone Can Edit

Posted by: Melissa at December 22, 2009 6:12 PM

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