Grilled Polenta and Vegetable Stacks with Tomato-Saffron Coulis
- 3 cups water
- 3 cups plain soy milk
- 1/4 cup olive oil
- 3 garlic cloves, minced
- 2 teaspoons sea salt
- Pinch of ground white pepper
- 2 cups polenta (coarse cornmeal) or yellow cornmeal
- 6 (1/2-inch-thick) eggplant slices
- 2 red onions, cut crosswise into 1/3-inch-thick slices
- 6 (4-inch-diameter) portobello mushrooms, stemmed
- 1 cup balsamic vinaigrette
- Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper, for seasoning
- 1 1/4 cups tofu ricotta cheese
- 3 cups Tomato-Saffron Coulis (recipe follows), warmed
- Tomato-Saffron Coulis:
- 2 teaspoons olive oil
- 1 onion, thinly sliced
- 1 fennel bulb, thinly sliced
- 2 garlic cloves, finely chopped
- 1 (15-ounce) can whole tomatoes
- 8 ounces plum tomatoes, chopped
- 1 1/2 tablespoons pure maple syrup
- 1 teaspoon sea salt, plus more for seasoning
- 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper, plus more for seasoning
- 1/4 teaspoon crumbled saffron threads
- Pinch of cayenne pepper
- 1 cup water
To make the polenta: Combine the water, soymilk, oil, garlic, salt, and pepper in a heavy large saucepan. Bring to a boil over medium-high heat. Gradually add the polenta, whisking until boiling and smooth. Reduce the heat to low.
Cook for 25 minutes (about 15 minutes for yellow cornmeal), whisking often, or until the mixture is very thick. Spread the hot polenta over a 13 by 9-inch baking sheet. Cool slightly. Cover and refrigerate at least 6 hours and up to 1 day.
Using a 3 1/2-inch cookie cutter, cut out 6 rounds of polenta. Reserve any remaining polenta for another use.
To grill the vegetables and polenta, arrange the eggplant slices, onion slices, and mushrooms, gills side up, on a heavy large rimmed baking sheet. Generously coat the vegetables with the vinaigrette. Cover and marinate at room temperature at least 1 hour or in the refrigerator up to 1 day.
Drain any excess marinade from the vegetables. Prepare the barbecue for medium-high heat. Sprinkle the vegetables with salt and pepper. Grill the vegetables until they are tender, turning often, about 12 minutes for the mushrooms and eggplant, and 8 minutes for the onions. Grill the polenta until heated through, about 5 minutes per side.
To assemble: Place 1 grilled polenta round in the center of each plate. Spoon 1 tablespoon of cheese over each polenta round. Top each with an eggplant slice. Spoon another tablespoon of cheese over the eggplant. Top with the onions. Spoon 1 more generous tablespoon of cheese over each. Top each with a mushroom, gill side down. Spoon the coulis around the vegetable stack and serve.
To make the tomato-saffron coulis: Heat the oil in a heavy saucepan over medium heat.
Add the onion and fennel, and sauté for 5 minutes, or until the vegetables are tender and translucent. Add the garlic and sauté for 2 minutes, or until tender. Stir in the canned tomatoes, plum tomatoes, maple syrup, 1 teaspoon of salt, 1/4 teaspoon of black pepper, saffron, and cayenne pepper. Bring the mixture to a boil over high heat.
Stir in the water. Return the mixture to a boil. Decrease the heat to medium-low and simmer uncovered for 1 hour, stirring occasionally, or until the liquid reduces slightly and the vegetables are very tender. Cool the mixture slightly.
Using a hand-held immersion blender, puree the mixture until smooth. Season the coulis to taste with more salt and black pepper, if desired.