Cathy’s Kitchen Prescription LLC
Prep time 20 minutes
Cooking Time 10 minutes
Makes 4 large16-ounce parfaits for entrées or 8 small 8-ounce parfaits for appetizers
Parfaits are usually frozen sweets in fancy glassware but why should desserts have all the fun? One resourceful way to repurpose leftovers is to use them in a polenta parfait. Layering creamy, molten polenta with stripes of flavorful veggie sautés and sauces can turn a humdrum supper into an elegant occasion in no time at all! Here I used my rustic tomato sauce, sweet pepper sauce, artichoke mousse, and sautéed spinach because I had them on hand and what a treat! Whole and plant-based with no oil, sugar or salt.
2 cups Bob’s Red Mill organic polenta •
7 ½ cups water
¼ cup miso powder ••
1 cup rustic tomato sauce
1 cup artichoke mousse
1 cup sweet pepper sauce
1 ½ pounds fresh spinach or one 10-ounce package of frozen spinach
2-3 large cloves garlic, minced
Splash of dry white wine, dry vermouth, no-sodium veggie broth or water to deglaze pan
1 teaspoon shiro (white) miso or 1 teaspoon miso powder, or to taste (omit if sodium-free) ••
Few fresh grinds of black pepper
• Hint 1! You can use other brands of polenta but the amount of water required and cooking time may differ. However, the tubes of precooked polenta found on grocery shelves won’t work for this recipe.
Hint 2! Only make as many parfaits as you and your guests/family will consume in a sitting, as you won’t be able to reheat these parfaits safely in their glassware after they cool.
•• Miso is a good salt alternative that helps to lower blood pressure. Miso powder and pastes are available online. (https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5313421/#:~:text=Miso%2C%20which%20is%20made%20from,%2C%20including%20salt%2Dsensitive%20hypertension).
Heat a large stainless skillet or pot for 3 minutes over medium flame. Rinse spinach with water, shake leaves, and toss in the skillet. Stir and cover. Cook for 3-4 minutes, stirring occasionally. Stir in garlic and seasonings, taste, and adjust to your liking. Set aside.
Chop leftovers sautés finely. Reheat in a microwave or on the stovetop right before composing the parfaits.
Warm the Glasses
Glassware can crack if the temperature from the hot polenta greatly exceeds the external temperature of the glass. To avoid that risk keep your glasses submerged under very hot water for 3 minutes right before filling the parfaits.
Cooking the Polenta
The polenta will cook in minutes, and once it attains the right consistency, you’ll need to work quickly since it continues to thicken and becomes more difficult to spoon as it cools. Therefore, before you cook the polenta, warm your glasses and have your warmed fillings within easy reach.
Bring water in a 3-5 quart stainless pot to a boil. Lower to a simmer and season the water with miso, if using. Slowly sprinkle in the polenta, stirring constantly to avoid lumping. The polenta will cook in 5 minutes so continue to stir as it thickens. Lower the flame when it begins to sputter to avoid splatters. Cover and remove from the heat when it tastes cooked, is thickened but pourable.
Composing the Parfaits
Quickly dry your first wineglass. Add spoonfuls of polenta, followed by a filling, then more polenta, then another filling, alternating colors, flavors and textures as you go. Repeat until all your parfaits are filled.
Serve immediately and watch it disappear!
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