This is a beautiful, satisfying and easy dish that is nice for a late spring or summer meal. I love polenta in all forms, but especially as a bed for pretty vegetables. Polenta is easy to make and if you have any leftover, you can refrigerate it until firm, then broil or shallow fry until nicely browned for a yummy snack or small meal. I recommend broccolini for this dish, it is milder and prettier than broccoli, but I used broccoli because I already had some. The scapes have been beautiful this year, and I love to use them when they are in season. Scapes are the flower bud of the garlic plant. The bud is removed in late June to encourage the bulbs to thicken up. Young and tender scapes can be chopped for salads and used for topping dishes like you would scallions. More mature scapes like the ones in this dish are great for sautéing and adding to things like pasta and eggs and can be used like regular garlic. I especially love to use it in a pesto.
slightly adapted from: The Love & Lemons Cookbook
3 cups water
1 cup polenta
1 garlic clove, minced
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil or butter
sea salt + black pepper
1/4 cup grated pecorino or parmesan cheese-optional
1 teaspoon extra-virgin olive oil
12 radishes, sliced in half
1 cup chickpeas, drained + rinsed
3-4 garlic scapes, sliced into 1-inch pieces
2 cups broccoli or broccolini
radish sprouts, if desired
make the polenta
In a medium saucepan, bring the water to a boil over medium-high heat. Add a few generous pinches of salt. Gradually whisk in the polenta and bring back to a boil. Reduce the heat to low and continue cooking until the polenta is tender, 20-30 minutes, whisking often. If it’s getting too thick, whisk in more water or broth and continue cooking. Turn off the heat and whisk in the garlic, olive oil or butter, pinches of salt and pepper, and cheese, if using. Taste and adjust the seasonings (polenta needs a healthy amount of salt to bring out the flavor). Cover to keep warm.
Meanwhile, heat the olive oil over medium heat. Add the radishes, chickpeas, and pinch of salt and sauté for 5 minutes. Stir, then add the garlic scapes and broccolini and cook until the vegetables are tender but still have a vibrant bite, about 5 more minutes. Season with salt and pepper.
Spoon the polenta into bowls and top with the vegetables and radish sprouts, if using.