Fresh corn polenta with summer vegetables is a delicious way to enjoy the comfort-factor of polenta with the fresh flavor of summer corn. Such a tasty vegetarian meal.
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Corn is an integral part of our summer eating these days. Given we grill pretty often during the summer, it makes a great easy side to cook at the same time and we all love it. Even my younger son with his almost four teeth seems to like gnawing on the leftover cobs.
Polenta, while made from corn, tends to have a more wintery feel to me but this fresh corn polenta is definitely an exception. It has an element of the comfort factor of regular polenta or grits, but is packed with so much more delicious corn flavor. It pairs perfectly with sautéed summer vegetables for a healthy, flavorful meal.
I mentioned before when I shared my short rib ragu with polenta that I am not totally sold on regular polenta. I think I have had a few times where it's been pretty tasteless and so I have kind of wondered what the point was. It feels like it is one of those things that needs a lot of help in the flavor department. I do at least want to give it another chance and will maybe play around with it a bit more this winter.
My apologies to any die-hard polenta fans, but I guess my point is whether you like regular polenta or not, this fresh corn polenta is definitely something you should try. It has some similarities to creamed corn but I would say it's better - after all, you're adding cheese rather than milk and sugar, so to me that has to trump. I have a feeling I may not be winning friends with these comparisons but don't let it stop you from trying this as it's both easy and delicious.
How to prepare fresh corn polenta
Fresh corn polenta is easy to make and doesn't take long to cook. There are a couple of methods - one is grating which means you don't then need to puree after you cook the corn but is harder work in preparing. The other method is slicing the corn from the cobs, scraping out any last bits, cooking then blending the cooked corn. I have gone with slicing as I think it's safer all round on your fingers and probably less effort, even if it uses extra utensils.
In both cases, after cooking the corn you add in the cheese and a bit of butter. I opted for a mix of goat's cheese and parmesan for a nice depth of flavor and the creamy goat's cheese saves needing too much butter. To properly feel the summeryness of this dish, I have served it with some tasty, sautéed summer vegetables. You could also serve this with more of a ragu sauce if you like, but the lightness of the vegetables goes well.
This fresh corn polenta might not result in any cobs with tidbits that my youngest can gnaw on, but it did give us a really tasty dish that we really enjoyed. It's smooth and comforting without being in a heavy, wintery way, and is full of delicious corn flavor. The fresh-tasting summer vegetables, with just a touch of basil and crunch of pine nuts, are a wonderful compliment to give you a flavorful, healthy meal.
Looking for more vegetarian meals? Try these:
- Mushroom galette
- Cuban quinoa bowl with grilled sweet potato and mango-avocado salsa
- Vegetarian bibimbap
- Vegetarian Thai red curry
Plus get more inspiration in the vegetarian recipes archives.
Fresh corn polenta with summer vegetables
For the fresh corn polenta
- 3 ears of corn approx 3 cups corn kernels
- 1 cup water 240ml
- 1 tbsp unsalted butter 10g
- 1 tbsp goat's cheese 20g
- ¼ cup parmesan 8g, grated
For the vegetables
- 2 tbsp olive oil
- ½ red onion
- 1 red pepper small - orange/yellow good too
- 1 zucchini medium, courgette
- 1 tomato medium
- 4 basil leaves
- 1 tbsp pine nuts
- Peel and remove the 'silk' from the corn and break off the stem. Take each ear in turn and hold it with the stem end flat in a shallow bowl and using a sharp knife, cut the kernels from the stem. Turn the cob so that you cut off the kernels from all sides. When you think you've got them all, turn the knife so it's more at right angles to the cob and scrape the last little bits out. Repeat with the other ears.
- Put all of the corn - you should get around 3 cups - including any liquid in a pan and add the water. Bring to a boil, reduce to a simmer and cook for around 10-12mins. I prefer slightly on the undercooked side (around 10min) but if you prefer more, go more towards 12min. Once done, remove the corn to a food processor (or blender) with a slotted spoon and blend until relatively smooth, adding a little of the cooking water to thin down slightly if needed.
- While the corn is cooking, warm the oil for the vegetables in a medium-large skillet/frying pan. Thinly slice the onion and add it to the pan. Cook, stirring now and then so it softens and browns slightly but don't let it burn.
- Cut the pepper and zucchini into relatively thin long slices. After the onion has become relatively soft, after around 5-8min, add the pepper and zucchini to the pan. Stir regularly as they cook for another 5min or so. Cut the tomato into medium-thick slices and the basil into thin strips ready for later.
- As the vegetables are nearly done, empty out the leftover cooking water from the corn pan and return the pureed corn to the pan. Add the butter and simmer for a couple minutes, stirring regularly, to allow it to thicken slightly if it seems a bit thin (shouldn't be a problem if you didn't add cooking water, but you may to thicken it up if you did).
- Add the goat's cheese and parmesan, mix in well, cook another minute then remove from the heat.
- Finish off the vegetables by adding the tomatoes and basil, mixing them through gently and warming then removing from the heat after a minute of two.
- Diving the fresh corn polenta between two bowls then top with the vegetables. Sprinkle over the pine nuts and top with a few gratings of parmesan and serve.
See some of my favorite cooking tools and ingredients in the Caroline's Cooking Amazon store.
See all the other corn-inspired recipes being shared this week:
- Cajun Baked Shrimp and Corn Dip by The Weekend Gourmet
- Cheesy Grilled Corn Dip by Helpful Homemade
- Grilled Corn Salsa by A Mind “Full” Mom
- Indian Cheese Corn Toast: Popular Vegetarian Recipe by Easy Cooking with Molly
- Roasted Corn and Tomato Bruschetta by Monica's Table
- Blueberry Masa Harina Pancakes by Magnolia Days
- Grilled Corn Ravioli Caprese Salad by Food Lust People Love
- Griled Corn and Avocado Salad by Garden Matter
- Grilled Tri Tip and Roasted Corn Salad by The Freshman Cook
- Summer Vegetable Salad by That Skinny Chick Can Bake
- Black Bean Corn Casserole by Cindy’s Recipes and Writings
- Cornbread Waffles with Pulled Pork by Renee’s Kitchen Adventures
- Fresh Corn Fettuccine by Sew You Think You Can Cook
- Pasta with Creamy Corn Sauce and Summer Vegetables by Delaware Girl Eats
- Polenta Stuffed Peppers by Culinary Adventures with Camilla
- A-maize-ing Maple Cornbread by Family Around The Table
- Blueberry and Corn Skillet Bread by Wholistic Woman
- Corn Pudding by Bottom Left of the Mitten
- Corn Pudding with Jalapenos and Chiles by Hezzi-D’s Books and Cooks
- Easy Addictive Corn by Fantastical Sharing of Recipes
- Galey iyo Qumbo (Somali Corn in Coconut Sauce) by Tara’s Multicultural Table
- Honey Cornbread Muffins by Life Tastes Good
- Mealie Bread (South African Sweetcorn Bread) by Curious Cuisiniere
- Jalapeno Popper Cornbread Muffins by The Crumby Cupcake
- Peruvian Grilled Street Corn by Cupcakes & Kale Chips
- Skillet Corn with Bacon by Cosmopolitan Cornbread
- Skillet Fried Corn by New South Charm
- Skillet Jalapeno Cornbread by Grumpy's Honeybunch
- Blackberry Cornbread Buckle by Pies and Plots
- Easy Cornmeal Budino with Blueberry Marmellata by Cooking With Carlee
- Margarita Popcorn by The Redhead Baker
- Sweet Corn Ice Cream by Baking Sense