Polenta Slices with Fresh Tomatoes, Basil, and Shaved Parmesan

Soooo I have a problem.  It’s June.  It’s only 80-something degrees.  And I’m already too hot.  It’s not even July yet!  This bodes poorly, guys.  Very, very poorly.  A 20-minute walk outside shouldn’t necessitate standing naked in front of the A/C yet– the worst is yet to come!  If I disappear, it’s probably because I have melted into a puddle.  Suddenly upstate NY and its reasonable summers is sounding mighty appealing…

BUT the one upside of this weather is that all sorts of things are cropping up in the gardens of the farmers who sell their goodies at the local market.  I just want to eat raw everything this time of year.  The produce is so perfect, it doesn’t need any monkeying!  With that in mind, I set about making a quick dinner for BF and I before we headed out to the Sounders-United soccer game last night.  And since Saturdays are farmers market days, I had plenty of goodies to work with.

Polenta Cake 2

Polenta is a really easy go-to meal, but I’ve never gone the extra step and turned cooked polenta into something else, like croutons or fried cakes.  Lately it seems I’m seeing that kind of stuff EVERYwhere, so when I spied a tube of pre-cooked polenta at the grocery store last week, I figured what the heck, it’s worth a shot.  And the pan-fried polenta tasted fine, but the real stars here are the tomatoes and basil.  They’re my farmer’s market bounty from last week– the polenta is mostly just a vehicle for fresh deliciousness.  This dish takes only a few minutes to put together but is a great summer meal that showcases garden stars and keeps you from having to turn on the oven– or even the stove, for very long.

Some good, fresh-shaved parmesan doesn't hurt either.

Some good, fresh-shaved parmesan doesn’t hurt either.

Polenta Cakes with Fresh Tomatoes, Basil, and Parmesan

  • 1 tube Polenta, sliced 1/2″ thick
  • Tomatoes, chopped/sliced as size necessitates
  • Fresh Basil, sliced into ribbons (to do this, stack and roll leaves, then slice thin)
  • Shaved Parmesan

Fry polenta slices in just a smidge of oil over medium heat for 4-5 minutes (you’ll know they’re done when they’ve turned a darker shade of yellow).  Top with sliced cherry tomatoes (or whatever tomato you prefer), basil ribbons, and shaved parmesan and serve immediately.  That’s it.  Like, actually.  Shortest recipe ever!

I realize I never shut up about how great the farmer’s market is, but I’m not sorry.  It IS so great!  And because we’re so often away during the summertime, I get to visit it far less frequently than I would like.  Which means I can go a little overboard when I do manage to get there.

Case in point...

Case in point…

However, I am also feeling SUPER inspired by these goodies to get into some fun projects in the kitchen.  And since it’s hot, I’m thinking ice cream might be the way to go.  Like, now.  So, umm…bye.