12 Mar 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!
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.
A couple minutes later it occurred to me that roasted lemon would play nicely in this so I sliced some lemon tossed it in.
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
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
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
- Larner Vineyard & Winery (our page with lots of details on this vineyard and winery)
- Larner Wine (their site)
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.