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Grilled Polenta with Sausages and Bell Peppers

You can get a head start on this dish. Cook the polenta, spread it on the baking sheet and then refrigerate it for up to 3 days. Then, just before serving, cut the polenta into pieces and broil it. Italian sausages, cooked with red and green bell peppers, make a colorful accompaniment.

Ingredients:

For the polenta:

  • 1 1/2 tsp. salt
  • 1 cup coarse-ground polenta
  • 1 cup milk
  • Unsalted butter for pan

For the sausages:

  • 1 Tbs. olive oil
  • 1 lb. sweet Italian sausages, cut into slices 1/2 inch thick
  • 1 yellow onion, coarsely chopped
  • 1 green bell pepper, seeded and coarsely chopped
  • 1 red bell pepper, seeded and coarsely chopped
  • 1/4 cup chicken broth
  • Salt and freshly ground pepper, to taste
  •  
  • 1 Tbs. olive oil
  • 1 Tbs. finely chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley

Directions:

To prepare the polenta, in a large, heavy saucepan over medium-high heat, bring 3 cups water and the salt to a boil. In a small bowl, stir together the cornmeal and milk. Gradually stir the cornmeal mixture into the boiling water. Stirring constantly, bring the mixture to a boil, about 2 minutes. Reduce the heat to medium-low and cook, stirring frequently, until the polenta is thick and creamy, about 25 minutes. Add up to1/2 cup water by tablespoons if the polenta begins to stick. (Be careful, as the hot polenta can bubble and spatter.)

Butter a rimmed baking sheet. Using a rubber spatula, spread the hot polenta on the prepared pan to form a 10-inch square about 1/2 inch thick. Cover the polenta with waxed paper and refrigerate until cold, about 2 hours.

To prepare the sausages, in a fry pan over medium heat, warm the olive oil. Add the sausage slices and cook, stirring frequently, until browned on all sides, about 8 minutes. Spoon off any excess fat. Add the onion and cook until softened, about 3 minutes. Add the bell peppers and cook, stirring frequently, until the vegetables are tender, about 5 minutes. Add the broth and bring to a simmer, stirring to scrape up the browned bits from the pan bottom. Season with salt and pepper. Remove from the heat and keep warm.

Preheat a broiler.

Cut the polenta into 12 rectangles or squares and brush the tops with half of the olive oil. Using a wide spatula, transfer the polenta pieces to a rimmed baking sheet, arranging them bottom side up. Brush with the remaining oil. Place in the broiler about 6 inches from the heat source and broil, turning once, until both sides are golden, about 5 minutes per side.

Arrange 2 pieces of polenta on each plate and surround with the sausage-pepper mixture, dividing it evenly. Sprinkle with the parsley and serve immediately. Serves 6.

Adapted from Williams-Sonoma Essentials of Breakfast and Brunch, by Georgeanne Brennan, Elinor Klivans, Jordan Mackay and Charles Pierce (Oxmoor House, 2007).