December 20, 2017
Here’s another version of bite sized food on aromatic polenta we recommend you try. We’ve seasoned polenta with one of our favourite spices, thyme, then coated it in the irresistible combination of turmeric and sweet chilly powder. On each mouthful of palenta we’ve put a teaspoon of ajvar and topped it with juicy tenderloin bits wrapped in delicious pancetta.
This dish is an example of how a few ingredients with full, simple tastes set off by a spice or two, are often the best ones. Polenta, most often associated with Italy, is one of the ancient dishes made in other parts of the world, from corn, but also from different grains. The word polenta comes from the Latin name for crushed grains. Mild, creamy taste of this delightful dish goes with almost anything, and can be served boiled and creamy, baked, grilled or fried. It’s great with cheeses, sour cream, eggs, vegetables, meat, and of course, ajvar.
Making polenta the traditional way is a lenghty process that requires lots of stirring, so these days it’s best to use the instant version, ready in minutes, especially if you’re preparing a large, time-consuming feast.
300g of instant polenta
few sprigs of thyme
2 small sprigs of rosemary
1 tsp of sweet chilly powder
1 tsp of turmeric
2 small pork tenderloins
8-10 slices of pancetta
salt and pepper
2 tbsp of oil
ajvar or ajvar with tomato and chili
In a large pot, boil 900ml of water (or follow the instructions on the package) with a pinch of salt and 2 tbsp of oil. When it starts to boil, gradually add polenta, and cook for 2-3 minutes, stirring constantly. Once cooked, remove from heat, add thyme, and spread out in a pan to about 1,5cm thick. Leave to cool completely.
While polenta is cooling, prepare the meat. Cut tenderloins in slices around 2cm thick. Roll each slice in the mixture of salt, pepper and finely chopped rosemary. Cut a thin strand from each slice of pancetta, lengthwise. Use the thicker slice to wrap around medallions, then use the thin stripe to tie the pancetta around the medallion. Fry medallions in well heated oil until brown on all sides.
Use a cookie cutter to cut out shapes from the cooled polenta. Once more heat the same mixture of oil and 1 teaspoon of turmeric and sweet chilly each in the pan, and fry polenta shapes briefly on each side until they get a nice color.
Assemble the canapes: put a teaspoon of ajvar or ljutenica on each polenta bit, and top with a medallion. Optionally, sprinkle with finely chopped rosemary.