Grilled Mussels and Clams with Tomato and Polenta Cake
1 pound Manila clams, washed and scrubbed
1 pound PEI mussels, washed and de-bearded
½ large red onion, small dice
2 heirloom tomatoes, ½-inch dice
5 leaves lemon verbena, fine chiffonade, plus more whole for garnish
Juice of 2 lemons
1 tablespoon Poblano Farm plum sambal, to taste
5 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
1 large eggplant
1 medium zucchini
1 medium summer squash
2 leftover cooked polenta squares (3x3x3/4-inches)* or substitute two pieces of crusty bread
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
1. Pre-heat the grill on high heat. Discard any shellfish that does not close after being tapped. Place the clams and mussels on the grates of the grill and cook until the shells pop open, 3 to 5 minutes for the mussels, and about 8 minutes for the clams. (The cooking time will depend on size of shellfish.) Transfer the cooked mussels and clams to a bowl. Discard any shellfish that does not open on the grill.
2. Meanwhile in a large bowl, combine the onion, tomatoes, lemon verbena, lemon juice, sambal, and 3 tablespoons of the olive oil and season with salt and pepper. Reserve.
3. Remove the top and bottom from the eggplant and stand upright. Remove a thin slice from the sides and cut large, lengthwise pieces, about 1/3-inch thick. Using a pairing knife, score the slices on one side in a hash mark pattern. Remove the ends of the zucchini and squash, lay the squash on the board, remove a thin slice from the sides and cut in ¼-inch slices. Use 2 large slices from each of the zucchini and squash and reserve extra for another purpose.
4. Brush the remaining oil on the eggplant, zucchini, squash and polenta squares, season with salt and pepper. Grill the vegetables until soft, 3 to 4 minutes per side. Remove to a cutting board and cut into long strips and reserve. Meanwhile, grill the polenta until warmed through with nice grill marks, 4 to 5 minutes per side
5. Add the shellfish to the large bowl with the tomato mixture, tossing to combine.
6. To plate, place the polenta cakes on the bottom of a large serving bowl, lay the grilled vegetables on top of the polenta, then finish with the shellfish mixture. Garnish with whole lemon verbena sprigs.
3 tablespoons unsalted butter plus extra for greasing pan
1 teaspoon kosher salt
2 cups polenta (cornmeal), not instant
Grease a 13x9-inch pan with butter and reserve.
In a medium saucepan, bring six cups of water and salt to a boil. Gradually add the cornmeal, and bring to a simmer, stirring constantly. Continue stirring and simmer until the polenta is tender, 20 to 25 minutes.
Transfer the polenta to the prepared pan and smooth the top with an off-set spatula. Refrigerate until firm, about 2 hours, and cut into 3x3–inch squares.
Trimbach RieslingColor: Beautiful straw color with green edges
Aroma: Fine mineral fragrance with ginger, caraway seed, underripe pineapple and flowers
Taste: Flavors of white peach, quince and lemon on the palate with a lingering, clean and dry finish