Episode 4: Instant Pot Polenta, the Best Red Sauce and Fish
Episode 4: Instant Pot Polenta and the Best Red Sauce
Kate gets ambitious with her Instant Pot and makes a double batch of polenta while Betsy explores her interpretation of a legendary red sauce. We also make a great weeknight combo of pan-seared tilapia and roasted green beans with fresh garlic. Rounding out the week, we cook a veggie-friendly Polenta Florentine that would make a nice dinner to have when friends are over. In the smorgäsbȯrd we talk about a family tradition that has roots in our German heritage and is an Instagram darling.
This week we cooked...
This is less a recipe than two techniques. Pan seared tilapia is a quick and flavorful way to serve fish. Roasting green beans deepens their flavor and makes a workhorse vegetable a little special for a weeknight.
Start your oven ASAP. Get the temperature up, then throw in the green beans. You can sear the tilapia in about 10 mins so make sure your green beans get a head start.
If your fish is frozen, you can thaw quickly using a hot water thaw- place your fish in a sealed plastic bad and submerge in hot water, changing the water frequently. Make sure you cook the fish soon after thawing- do not hold in the refrigerator.
Florentine usually refers to a dish with spinach in some form or another and in this recipe is combined with a luxurious bechamel sauce. Creamy sauce and spinach with a baked polenta makes this a recipe for the comfort food files.
Make 2 cups of dry polenta using the Instant Pot polenta recipe (using 8 cups water) and reserve half of it for the Polenta Florentine. Spread the hot polenta on a greased or silicone lined half sheet tray and cut into squares when cool. Tile into a baking dish and you’re ready for Polenta Florentine.
This is a completely satisfying vegetarian main dish but one could successfully add cooked, crumbled italian sausage with the spinach.
See the additional show notes for side salad ideas.
This simple tomato sauce is the darling of many a food blogger. For good reason! Marcella Hazan was a groundbreaker for Italian cooking in the US. This particular recipe is short on ingredients yet long on flavor. Making polenta in the Instant Pot is a convenient way to make polenta without standing at the stove.
Make a double batch of polenta with two cups of dry polenta and eight cups of water in the Instant Pot (or on the stovetop, just make sure you have a big enough saucepan). When the polenta is done, pour half of it onto a silpat (if you have it) or lightly greased sheet pan. Chill in the fridge for an hour or so. Use a 2 1/2 inch or so round cookie cutter to cut out rounds or just cut into 2 inch squares. Tile the polenta in an 8 inch baking dish- about 5-6 pieces in three rows. Don't throw away the scraps! Tuck them underneath and around the bigger pieces. Cover the pan and pop in the refrigerator until you are ready to make polenta florentine.
Don't skimp or substitute - the recipe works just as written. (I’m especially talking about the butter- it’s essential in this amount.
From the Smorgäsbȯrd:
Inspiration for Dinner Sandwich Boards
Instagram Cheese-y Things to Follow
@thecheeseboard (all cheese boards, all the time)
@saveurmag (food magazine with cheese boards, sometimes, but gorgeous pics)
@cowgirlcreamery (creamery out of California...so good)
@wisconsincheese instagram (the Wisconsin milk marketing board but these Wisconsin girls can’t help but put in a plug…)
Additional Show notes:
Salads to eat with the Polenta Florentine
Got a meal you want us to talk about? Think Betsy's take on the tomato sauce was brilliant? Email us at email@example.com We'd love to hear from you!