So many wonderful Mediterranean flavors and gluten free!
Serves 8 as starter or 6 as a main course
2 1/2 pints water
1 tsp salt
1/2 lb polenta (It’s recommended to use the instant variety, which cooks in 5 minutes)
3 tbsp butter
1/2 cup freshly grated parmesan cheese
3 red peppers
1 yellow pepper
extra virgin olive oil
2 cloves garlic, chopped
1 tbsp fresh rosemary, chopped
1/2 cup pitted and chopped kalamata olives
3 anchovy fillets, drained of oil and squished (optional, but I love them)
1/4 cup fresh pine nuts
Bring the water to the boil in a large wide (not tall and narrow) saucepan.
Add the salt, then shake in the polenta from a height. Stir continuously, using a wooden spoon.
When the polenta is cooked (5 mins for instant polenta and about 20 mins for regular polenta), stir in the butter and parmesan cheese.
Tip it on to a shallow tray and spread out to 1/2 inch thick. Smooth the surface and leave to cool. The cooked polenta can be left at room temperature for several hours, or it can be made a day in advance, but should be kept covered and refrigerated.
Blacken the peppers over a hot gas flame until well charred, put them into a paper bag (I use a paper grocery bag) and clip it shut so the peppers can steam until cool. This makes it easy to remove the skins.
When cool, remove the skins, core and seeds, put them into a colander over a bowl to catch any precious juices, and cut into fine slices.
Heat 1 tbsp olive oil over a low heat in a small pan and add the garlic and rosemary. Cook gently until aromatic, but don’t let the garlic color.
Add the black olives and take off the heat, then stir in the peppers and any juices caught underneath the peppers.
If using anchovies, blend them into this mixture. This can all be prepared a few hours ahead; cover and keep it at room temperature.
Fry the pine nuts in a little oil until golden (make sure you keep moving them around in the pan or they will burn) and drain on a paper towel, sprinkling them with a little salt.
When ready to finish off the polenta, cut it into squares and brush it on both sides with olive oil.
Barbecue the pieces on both sides, or grill them on an indoor griddle until light brown and crispy.
Transfer the crispy pieces onto a serving platter, spoon on the pepper topping and add a smattering of toasted pine nuts.
Serve immediately with a good, interesting green salad.