I love, love, love cooking. Some people think I'm crazy to spend 2-3 hours on a weeknight making dinner, but it's so relaxing to me (especially with red wine on hand, and in-hand). I think it's a fun challenge to come up with new recipes and I love sharing what I've come up with, especially with my fellow food-obsessed friends and family.
After picking out random items at the grocery store, I decided to make something with fennel, grapefruit, blood oranges and goat cheese. It’s frigid outside so I wanted something heartier than a salad, and there’s not much heartier than polenta. Enter: goat cheese polenta with citrus and fennel. I’m the queen of making things more complicated than they need to be, so I apologize in advance if things don’t seem intuitive. This is only the 2nd recipe I’ve ever “written”.
Goat Cheese Polenta with Citrus, Fennel & Pickled Red Onion
1 cup yellow cornmeal (polenta)
1 teaspoon salt
2 tablespoons butter
4 oz. creamy goat cheese
1 grapefruit, segmented
1 blood orange, segmented, plus zest
1 fennel bulb, sliced thin
1 small red onion, sliced thin
1/2 cup red wine vinegar
3/4 cup hot water
1 tablespoon sugar
2 tablespoons olive oil
Salt & pepper to season
To make the polenta, bring 4 1/2 cups of water to a boil in a large saucepan. Add the cornmeal to the water slowly, whisking constantly to avoid lumps. Reduce heat to a simmer and cook for 15 minutes, whisking occasionally. Add salt and pepper to taste. When polenta is finished, stir in butter and goat cheese.
In a small bowl, combine sugar, a pinch of salt, hot water and vinegar. Stir until sugar and salt are dissolved into the liquid. Add sliced onions and let sit in the brine for 30 minutes.
Zest the blood orange in a small bowl. Segment the blood orange and grapefruit. Squeeze the leftover juice into a small bowl with blood orange zest; reserve. Pour 1 T. olive oil into small bowl with zest and citrus juice and stir to combine; set aside.
Slice the top of the fennel and reserve the fronds. Slice the fennel bulb in half, and shave thin. In a large saucepan, pour 1 T. olive oil and bring heat to medium high. Add the fennel and salt to season. Sear the fennel until lightly browned, tossing to brown all sides. Remove from heat.
Spoon polenta onto each plate and top with seared fennel, grapefruit and blood orange segments, fennel fronds, pickled red onions and shaved parmigiano reggiano. Drizzle citrus vinaigrette over top and garnish with mint leaves.