Matthew Kenney’s Kale Polenta

3.7 (7 reviews)
Vegan

Matthew Kenney’s Kale Polenta

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Ingredients

For the Almond Ricotta:

  • 2 cups almonds, soaked overnight
  • 1 qt. water
  • 1/2 Tbsp. citric acid
  • Zest of 1 lemon
  • 1 tsp. salt

For the Roasted Fennel:

  • 1 bulb fennel, core removed then quartered
  • 1 Tbsp. olive oil
  • 1/2 tsp. salt
  • 2 sprigs thyme

For the Creamy Polenta:

  • 1 cup cornmeal
  • 5 cups water
  • 1 1/2 tsp. salt
  • 2 Tbsp. nutritional yeast
  • 1/2 cup olive oil

For the Kale Pesto:

  • 1 bunch kale, destemmed
  • Kosher salt for blanching
  • 3 cloves garlic, roasted
  • 1/2 tsp. sea salt
  • 1/4 cup olive oil

For the Spigarello:

  • 1 bunch spigarello
  • 1 Tbsp. olive oil

For the Tomatoes:

  • 1/2 pint cherry tomatoes
  • 1 Tbsp. olive oil
  • 1 tsp. salt
  • 1/2 tsp. sugar

For Serving:

  • 1/4 cup spicy greens (preferably mustard greens)
  • Edible flowers (to garnish)

Instructions

For the Almond Ricotta:

  • Blend the almonds and water in a high-speed blender until smooth. Strain the mixture to separate the almond milk from the pulp. Discard the pulp.
  • Pour the almond milk into a large pot and heat to 194°F. Whisk in the citric acid, lemon zest, and salt. Remove from the heat and let stand for 15 minutes.
  • Pour into a strainer lined with cheesecloth, cover with plastic wrap, and refrigerate, allowing the ricotta to drain for a few hours before transferring to a sealed container. Discard the liquid.

For the Roasted Fennel:

  • Toss the fennel in the oil, salt, and thyme. Transfer to a baking sheet and roast at 350°F for 20 to 30 minutes, flipping halfway through (after the first side becomes caramelized).

For the Creamy Polenta:

  • Preheat the oven to 350°F. Spread the cornmeal on a baking sheet and toast in the oven for 5 minutes, or until fragrant.
  • In a pot, bring the water, salt, and nutritional yeast to a boil then stream in the toasted cornmeal, whisking vigorously to avoid clumping. Reduce the heat to low and simmer for about 45 minutes, or until soft and creamy, stirring frequently and adding additional boiling water if the polenta gets too thick.
  • Stir in the olive oil.

For the Kale Pesto:

  • Blanch the kale in salted water for about 3 minutes, or until tender and easily torn. Plunge into ice water, drain, then squeeze out any remaining water. Roughly chop. (Reserve the blanching water for the spigarello.)
  • Place the kale, garlic, and salt in a blender and purée until smooth, stirring occasionally. Add up to a few tablespoonfuls of water if needed to loosen. Slowly drizzle in the olive oil.

For the Spigarello:

  • Cut the thick bottoms off the spigarello. Blanch in the same water used for the kale for 1 to 2 minutes, or until the stems are soft. Plunge into ice water and drain.
  • Warm the olive oil in a pan over medium heat and cook the spigarello until heated through.

For the Tomatoes:

  • Toss the tomatoes in the olive oil, salt, and sugar.
  • Sauté in a pan over medium heat, stirring frequently, until the skins begin to blister.

Assembly:

  • Mix 1⁄2 cup of the creamy polenta with 2 tablespoonfuls of kale pesto. Place in the right side of a bowl and, using the back of a spoon, swirl into an arc.
  • Place the tomatoes, spigarello, and fennel in the middle of the bowl and top with dollops of the almond ricotta and some spicy greens. Garnish with the flowers, if desired.

Makes 4 servings

Adapted and published by permission of Matthew Kenney

Rated 3.7/5 based on 7 reviews

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“Almost all of us grew up eating meat, wearing leather, and going to circuses and zoos. We never considered the impact of these actions on the animals involved. For whatever reason, you are now asking the question: Why should animals have rights?” READ MORE

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