Mediterranean Polenta with Vegetables

To best prepare this Mediterranean Polenta recipe, cut all of the vegetables a day ahead of time and put into a container lightly salted and with lemon juice, cover and refrigerate. You may roast the eggplant, zucchini, mushrooms and red pepper earlier in the day. Cover and refrigerate the vegetables until needed.

Ingredients

1 small eggplant, peeled, cut into 1/4-inch slices 1 small yellow zucchini, cut into 1/4-inch slices 1 small green zucchini, cut into 1/4-inch slices 6 medium mushrooms, sliced 1 sweet red pepper, seeded, cored and cut into chunks 2 tablespoons plus 1 teaspoon extra-virgin olive oil 6 cups water 1 1/2 cups coarse polenta (corn grits) 2 teaspoons trans-free margarine 1/4 teaspoon cracked black pepper 10 ounces frozen spinach, thawed 2 plum (Roma) tomatoes, sliced 6 dry-packed sun-dried tomatoes, soaked in water to rehydrate, drained and chopped 10 ripe olives, chopped 2 teaspoons oregano

Directions

Heat the broiler (grill). Position the rack 4 inches from the heat source.

Brush the eggplant, zucchini, mushrooms and red pepper with 1 tablespoon of the olive oil. Arrange in single layer on a baking sheet and broil under low heat. Turn as needed and brush occasionally with 1 tablespoon olive oil. When tender and slightly browned, remove from the broiler (grill). Use immediately or cover and refrigerate for later use.

Preheat the oven to 350 F. Coat a decorative, ovenproof 12-inch flan or quiche dish with cooking spray.

In a medium saucepan, bring water to a boil. Reduce heat and slowly whisk in polenta. Continue to stir and cook for about 5 minutes. When polenta comes away from side of pan, stir in margarine and season with 1/8 teaspoon of the black pepper. Remove from heat.

Spread polenta into the base and sides of the baking dish. Brush with 1 teaspoon olive oil. Place in the oven and bake for 10 minutes. Remove and keep warm.

Drain spinach and press between paper towels. Top polenta with spinach. Arrange a layer of sliced tomatoes, chopped sun-dried tomatoes and olives. Top with remaining roasted vegetables. Sprinkle with oregano and the remaining 1/8 teaspoon black pepper. Return to the oven for another 10 minutes. When warmed through, remove from the oven. Cut into 6 wedges and serve.
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