Monday, May 4, 2009

Caprese Polenta Stacks

I absolute love caprese salad. I also love to play around with the flavors and try them out in different dishes, like in pizza and burgers. I also like to take the actual salad and deconstruct it, make it in a different form, or add an element or two to make it new and fun.
I have been craving polenta, and I love when it's cut into rounds. I thought I could make everything the same size, and make little stacks of caprese salad and polenta.
Well, this dish was an absolute hit, the polenta was delicious, and the salad was cool and refresing. It was a vegetable and starch side in one! I served it with some TJ's roasted garlic sausage for a complete dinner.
Note: Rather than buying premade polenta rolls, make your own polenta, chill and cut into rounds (see photo below!) Also, the smoked mozzarella is pretty strong, next time I might just sub fresh mozzarella so it's doesn't overpower the other flavors.

Caprese Polenta Stacks
with Heirloom Tomatoes and Smoked Mozzarella

1 1/2 c. vegetable stock
1/2 c. skim milk
2/3 c. organic polenta
salt and pepper

2-3 heirloom tomatoes (I got red and green)
1 8 oz. ball of smoked or plain fresh mozzarella
10 basil leaves, chiffonade
1/2 c. aged balsamic vinegar

In a medium sauce pot, bring stock and milk to a boil.
Slowly whisk in polenta, turn heat to low.
Season with salt and pepper, continue to occasionally whisk for 20 minutes.
Line a pan with parchment, smear polenta over parchment, refrigerate for an hour.

In a small saucepan, heat vinegar over medium heat, reduce by 3/4 until it becomes a thick syrup.
Slice tomatoes into 1/4" rounds.
Slice mozzarella into 1/4" rounds.
Use a biscuit cutter and cut polenta into rounds, about 2.5", or the size of the tomatoes and mozzarella.
Place down the rounds, top with a slice of tomato, mozzarella, another slice of tomato, and another polenta round.
When ready to serve, drizzle with balsamic reduction and sprinkle with basil.

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Joanne said...

I love caprese salads as well! It makes for a really great no-cook pasta sauce. When you mix the mozzarella with the warm pasta, it starts to melt into ooey mounds of heaven! These look great and like so much fun to eat, love the layers.

Joelen said...

Great way to incorporate polenta and the traditional caprese salad!

Ashley said...

These are gorgeous! Love the presentation!

Anonymous said...

These were a great idea! I just made them with roasted tomatoes and parmesan crusted polenta, they were delicious!

Ben said...

Great Recipe! Made a slight variation and they were delicious.