Grilled Polenta | 2009 Riesling (Nov 2010)
The following was inspired by Micol Negrin's "The Italian Grill" and when prepared with Mountain Gorgonzola happens to be one of our favorite pairings for our Dry Riesling. The Mountain Gorgonzola comes from the Lombardy region in the north central part of Italy and has a spicy earthy flavor that is also lovely when served alongside pears. You'll want to plan ahead, as the polenta will require some time to cool but the dish itself is easy to make and makes a great side dish.
We use the polenta recipe from Julia della Croce's "The Vegetarian Table Italy". Bring 7 cups of water to a boil in a large deep pot. Add the salt and then very slowly add the polenta while stirring. Set the heat to medium so the polenta continues to boil. Once you've added the polenta, you're committed for the next 25-30 minutes: continue stirring with a long handled wooden spoon in the same direction. Continue to stir constantly until the polenta is thick and pulls away easily from the sides of the pot. If the polenta is thick but doesn't pull away from the sides of the pot add a touch more water. The next step is to transfer the polenta to a baking pan, bread pan, or similar dish. Oil the dish and spread the polenta 1 to 2 inches thick in the dish. Set aside and allow to cool for at least 30 minutes. Once the polenta has cooled, cut it into the shape of your choosing. We often use triangles, as pictured, or 1" x 1" x 6" rectangles. Brush the surface of the polenta with olive oil and grill over medium heat. You may also cook the polenta indoors on a griddle if you prefer. The outside of the polenta should become golden and 'crisp'. When the polenta is finished on all sides, reduce the heat, sprinkle the top side with Mountain Gorgonzola and allow the cheese to melt. Top with fresh ground black pepper to taste. At this point the polenta makes an excellent side dish; if you prefer to use as a main dish consider serving upon a bed of cooked spinach. Buon Appetito!