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Recipes: 'Fresh Food Fast'

by Peter Berley
Jun 10, 2005

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Peter Berley

A seasonally-organized cookbook recommended by food writer Heidi Swanson offers recipes for watermelon with fleur de sel and fresh corn polenta with sauteed cherry tomatoes.

Watermelon with Fleur de Sel

One of the best and simplest summertime desserts around.

4 slices chilled watermelon

Fleur de sel

Sprinkle the melon lightly with salt and serve.

Serves 4.

Fresh Corn Polenta with Sautéed Cherry Tomatoes

Peter recommends further enhancing this meal by topping each serving of polenta with a fried egg. — Heidi

For the polenta:

2 tablespoons unsalted butter

1 teaspoon coarse sea salt or kosher salt

1 cup coarsely ground polenta or corn grits

1 large or 2 medium ears fresh corn, kernels scraped off the cob (1 cup)

For the cherry tomatoes:

2 pints cherry tomatoes

1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil

2 garlic cloves, minced

1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes

1/4 cup chopped mixed fresh herbs, such as oregano, basil, tarragon, and parsley Coarse sea salt or kosher salt and freshly milled black pepper

Grated Parmesan cheese for garnish

1. Preheat the oven to 200°F.

2. To prepare the polenta, in a medium saucepan over high heat, bring 3 cups of water to a boil, and add the butter and salt. Stir in the grits and corn and continue to stir until the water returns to a boil. Reduce the heat and simmer, uncovered, for 5 to 7 minutes, stirring occasionally, until the polenta is thick and smooth. Cover and transfer to the oven to keep warm.

3. To prepare the tomatoes, place a large skillet (it should be large enough to hold the tomatoes in a single layer) over high heat. Put the tomatoes, oil, garlic, and red pepper flakes in the pan and sauté until the tomatoes soften and begin to exude their juice, about 3 to 4 minutes. Stir in the herbs and sauté for 2 more minutes. Season with salt and pepper.

4. Divide the polenta among 4 shallow soup plates and spoon the tomatoes on top. Serve sprinkled with Parmesan.

Serves 4.

Recipe from Fresh Food Fast: Delicious Seasonal Vegetarian Meals in Under and Hour by Peter Berley.

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