Nesting and pairing – polenta with red pepper and eggplant with a Rhône Style blend

Polenta with Roasted vegetables Larner 2017 Elemental and Loki

Nesting and pairing – polenta with red pepper and eggplant with a Rhône Style blend

Many of us, find ourselves staying in more these days. As I write this, Broadway has announced that all theatres over 500 seats will go dark through April. I sit in Vegas, a member of the entertainment industry, waiting to see what will happen here. I have friends in Washington, who are staying at home. It’s an angsty time. We are all a little nervous. Many will be nesting out of necessity, not choice. I feel lucky to know that if I am stuck at home, I have a cellar to allow me to travel. If you find you must stay at home. Take the time for a bit of self care. This recipe and pairing is just an example. I look forward to hearing what amazing creations you pull out of your cupboard.

Staying in and traveling through a bottle of wine

Last week, I didn’t want to got to the grocery store. I was willing to cook, just not to drive.

So, what to pair?

What’s in the cupboard?

In the fridge I found a 1/4 of an onion, a red pepper, an eggplant, some olives and capers and a lemon. In the pantry a canned of diced tomatoes, garlic and polenta and in the back yard my rosemary and sage were taking off!

Roasting vegetables

I diced the eggplant, onion and red pepper. Then I tossed in a couple of cloves of garlic, some fresh sage and rosemary. This all was doused with olive oil and sprinkle of salt and pepper. I lined a baking dish with parchment (for ease of clean up) and tossed the mixture in. The oven went to 450 degrees (on convection roast mode) and in it went for 45 minutes.

Chopped onion, pepper, eggplant and garlic with rosemary and sage
Chopped onion, pepper, eggplant and garlic with rosemary and sage

A couple minutes later it occurred to me that roasted lemon would play nicely in this so I sliced some lemon tossed it in.

Making polenta

While that roasted away, I whipped up the polenta. It takes about 30 minutes by the instructions on the bag of Bob’s Red Mill polenta. I kept long sleeves on and used oven mitts for stirring, cause it will bubble and pop and can really burn you, so stay safe. After 30 minutes I added some butter and then poured it into a pyramid shaped glass bowl that I had to mold it.

The roasted veggies came out of the oven and I added the can of diced tomatoes drained.

Finishing the dish

Polenta with roasted eggplant, garlic, lemon, red pepper with tomatoes, olives & capers
Polenta with roasted vegetables

After 10 minutes, the polenta was set (I threw it in the fridge to set faster). I sliced the polenta, and pan fried it in butter and olive oil to make it a little crispy. I found a pretty plate to put it on, and topped with my roasted vegetables. This was garnished with black olives and capers and some more fresh herbs.

Larner 2017 Elemental

Larner 2017 Elemental
Larner 2017 Elemental

I had pulled out a bottle of Larner Vineyards and winery 2017 Elemental. This wine from Santa Barbara’s Ballard Canyon AVA is 65% Grenache, 19% Syrah and 16% Mourvèdre. It is aged 22 months in neutral french oak.

This wine had a beautiful acidity that was really wonderful with this dish!

So, take an opportunity to nest. To curl up with a bottle and do some virtual travel. Dig through the cupboard. You might be surprised at the amazing things you can make.

For more information on the Larner Vineyard and Winery

As always be sure to follow us on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter to keep up to date on all of our posts.

Robin Renken CSW (photo credit RuBen Permel)

Robin Renken is a wine writer and Certified Specialist of Wine. She and her husband Michael travel to wine regions interviewing vineyard owners and winemakers and learning the stories behind the glass.

When not traveling they indulge in cooking and pairing wines with food at home in Las Vegas.

pinit fg en rect red 28

Robin Renken
[email protected]
4 Comments
  • advinetures
    Posted at 21:55h, 14 March Reply

    I work in the travel industry. Despite 9/11, SARS, natural disasters, I’ve never seen anything like it. Sipping wine from around the world, particularly regions in countries that are on lockdown brings back a flood of wonderful memories. I will look forward to creating new memories as soon as possible. Thinking of you and we WILL get through this — whenever i get to your neck of the woods, first bottle is on me!

    • Robin Renken
      Posted at 18:40h, 15 March

      I look forward to finally meeting you in person! We are planning our at home travel through our wine cellar over this next month. Our shows were shut down last night here in Vegas. It’s frightening, but this is global. We are all in this together. We will be virtually toasting and we look forward to hearing about the bottles you open!

  • Lynn
    Posted at 14:08h, 19 March Reply

    A bizarre mix of elements have forced us into our current situation and you are still traveling. Love your way of thinking about travel given our circumstances Robin! Stay safe and create on!

    • Robin Renken
      Posted at 17:44h, 19 March

      Likewise Lynn! Looking forward to sipping some bubbles in Bordeaux virtually with you this weekend! #Winophiles Unite! All of you out there feel free to join us! We will be on twitter with the hashtag #Winophiles Saturday morning 8am PST, 11am EST (I apologize for other time zones you are going to have to do some math!). If you have some bubbles, feel free to pop them. If they are bubbles from Bordeaux it’s a bonus! Coffee is also acceptable.

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

%d bloggers like this: