I’m always in search of a new take on classic recipes, and last week, while cleaning out the freezer, I came across a bag of sweet corn kernels. A few ideas came to mind on how I could use it for dinner that night: a cast-iron cornbread, fresh corn salsa, another soup?
Fast forward to this weekend when the lightbulb went off. Corn kernels make for a sweet spin on the classic polenta, and is the perfect base for a fragrant eggplant sauce blended with fresh tomato, herbaceous tarragon and a buttery, oaked Chardonnay.
The sauce is the perfect liquid to sop-up with a French baguette and pairs well with pasta. Grab a fried egg, crumbled bacon, a bit of Sriracha on top of the polenta, and you’ve got a savory breakfast the next day. Easy, versatile, delicious. How could you ask for more?
1/2 of a medium-sized eggplant
1 cup fresh chopped tomato
1 bunch tarragon
1 bag on frozen sweet corn
2 teaspoons tomato paste
1/4 teaspoon brown sugar
1/4 cup white wine (I opted for a California Chardonnay)
Cut the eggplant in a 3/4-inch dice. Fry the eggplant in 2/3 cup of EVOO on medium heat for approximately 15 minutes, or until brown. Remove the eggplant from the pan and pour the excess oil into a separate container (the oil can be saved and used to fry eggs—trust me, it’s delicious). Put the eggplant back in the pan and stir with the 2 teaspoons of tomato paste, cook for 2 minutes, then add 1/4 cup of white wine (and pour yourself a glass too). Stir for another minute and then add the cup of chopped tomatoes, 6 1/2 tablespoons water, 1/4 teaspoon salt, sugar, and 1 tablespoon fresh tarragon. Cook for another 5 minutes, until the sauce is fragrant.
Simmer frozen corn kernels in 2 1/4 cups of water for 12 minutes on low. Remove the corn with a slotted spoon and reserve cooking liquid. Purée the corn kernels in a food processor until it reaches a texture of your liking. I prefer to have a few bits of corn intact, but if you like smooth, purée all the way. If the mixture seems too dry, add a few spoonful’s of the reserved cooking liquid to the mix. Return the corn paste to the pot and cook until it’s the consistency of mashed potatoes, 12 to 15 more minutes. Add in 3 tablespoons butter, the a few sprinkles of Parmesan and salt and pepper to taste.
Remember that bottle of wine you used in the sauce? Pour yourself another glass, scoop the polenta on a plate, top with the eggplant sauce, and enjoy!