Polenta Stacks with Sage-Garlic Butter
While there are nearly 1,000 varieties of sage, two especially stand out: Salvia rutilans, also known as pineapple sage, and Salvia officinalis, also called garden or common sage. Pineapple sage is considered a sacred medicinal plant. It derives its name from the Latin salvare meaning to save. Many ancient cultures believed sage possessed life-prolonging properties. Even today, the oil derived from sage has many recognized medicinal applications, including use as an antiseptic. Research has also shown that sage can reduce blood sugar in diabetics. In summer, the bright crimson flowers of the pineapple sage flutter like tiny butterflies on the end of each leafy limb. The leaves of culinary sage varieties, which have a light citrus taste, are delicious in stuffings, soups, and stews. Sage blossoms have a less pronounced flavor than leaves.
- 4 1/2 cups chicken broth
- 2 tablespoons sun-dried tomatoes, finely diced
- 6 tablespoons butter, divided use
- 1 1/2 cup polenta or yellow cornmeal
- 1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese
- 1/4 teaspoon white pepper
- 4 large Portobello mushrooms, sliced
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 2 garlic cloves, minced
- 1/2 red bell pepper, seeded and julienned
- 12 sage leaves, minced
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 8 ounces sausage meat
- 1/2 yellow bell pepper, seeded and julienned
- Sage leaves and blossoms, for garnish
In a large saucepan, bring the chicken broth, sun-dried tomatoes, and 2 tablespoons butter to a boil. Add the polenta in a stream, stirring continuously. Reduce heat to medium low and stir in cheese and white pepper. Partially cover to prevent splattering, and continue cooking, stiring frequently, until a wooden spoon stands upright in the center. Remove from heat.
Line a baking sheet with parchment paper lightly greased with butter. With a spatula, spread the warm polenta on the baking sheet. Refrigerate for 1 to 2 hours. With a 4-inch mold, cut out rounds and place them on another baking sheet. Refrigerate until ready to grill.
Lightly grease a stovetop grill. Grill the portobellos and polenta until you get nice grill marks. Transfer to a platter and keep warm.
In a small skillet, melt the remaining butter with the olive oil over low heat. Add the garlic and sage. Cook, stirring occasionally, until the garlic is soft. Stir in the salt. Strain into a small bowl and keep warm. To the skillet, add the sausage meat and cook until brown. Drain and set aside.
Next, sauté the pepper strips until almost caramelized, 6 to 7 minutes. Drain and set aside. To serve, plate the polenta and top with mushrooms, sausage, and peppers. Sprinkle with sage-garlic butter and garnish with sage.
Copyright Kitty Morse, 2015
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