Summer Polenta with Chimichurri and Tomatoes
I’ve been a bit obsessed with polenta this summer. I’m not entirely sure why, since I usually associate it with wintery comfort foods, but I haven’t been able to get enough of it since chef Harold Marmulstein came into the test kitchen earlier this summer and made these incredible green chile grits. It was one of those dishes that I couldn’t stop eating, even when I felt myself nearing the point of feeling sick. So, ever since that day, I haven’t really been able to stop thinking about polenta, which is why I decided to make a quick, summery version. While the polenta is rich and creamy, the chimichurri and tomato-onion salad offsets the richness, and I’d go as far to say that it is now the best thing I’ve eaten all summer long. Throw an egg on it or top it with some scallops or skirt steak—or, leave it as is. I may be biased, but my ideal meal is perfect as is.
- 2 cups milk
- 1 cup polenta (about 6 ounces)
- 3 tbsp. unsalted butter
- 2 tbsp. creme fraiche
- 1 cup packed parsley leaves
- 3⁄4 cup packed cilantro leaves
- 1⁄4 cup packed fresh oregano leaves
- 1⁄4 cup red wine vinegar
- 1 clove garlic
- 1⁄4 cup jalapeño, stemmed and seeded
- Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
- 1⁄2 cup olive oil, plus 2 Tbsp.
- 12 oz. cherry tomatoes, quartered
- 1⁄2 red onion, thinly sliced
- Bring milk and 2 cups water to a boil in a 4-qt. saucepan over high; lower heat to medium-low and add polenta. Cook, stirring, until thick and creamy, 8-10 minutes. Add butter, creme fraiche, and salt to taste; keep warm.
- In a food processor, combine the parsley, cilantro, oregano, vinegar, garlic, jalapeño, salt, and pepper. While pulsing the food processor, drizzle in ½ cup of the oil until the mixture becomes a creamy yet slightly coarse sauce. Transfer the chimichurri sauce to a bowl and set aside.
- Toss remaining olive oil, the tomatoes, red onion, salt, and pepper in a bowl; set aside.
- To serve, divide polenta between plates; top with tomato salad and drizzle with chimichurri.