The menu at Fellini's had a lot of the stuff you'd expect to see on a Greek menu, but I only really remember one; my favorite, their polenta appetizer. For around $4, you got three thick wedges of lightly fried polenta topped with fresh diced tomatoes, chiffonaded basil leaves, all drizzled in olive oil and generously sprinkled with feta. It was so good and was the perfect dinner for a night filled with loud (and not all that great, mostly) music When I quit working there, and then left Portland not too long afterwards, I forgot about one of my favorite dishes, since there was so many different and new types of food to explore in my newfound home here in Seattle.
Around 2008 or '09, FaceBook became the most prevalent way people were re-meeting friends from their past, and I was no exception. Through the grapevine, I tracked down some of the people I knew and worked with from the old days, and with that came memories and stories of the music I heard and made, jokes told, drinks and conversation and laughs had. And it hit me that I had not had that polenta appetizer in quite some time; but I didn't know where to get polenta or how to make it, and at the time I just didn't think to look it up anywhere online. When I found that it was sold in stores, I bought some and tried to make it, but failed miserably. Just recently, I decided to try again.
So I got this stuff. I actually chose the sun-dried tomato version. Polenta is quite plain on it's own, and the previous time I tried to make it, I just couldn't salt it enough so that it tasted right. The sun-dried tomato version is much better. This stuff is available at pretty much any grocery store, usually around the deli section, and costs about $3-4 and change.
So cut this bad boy out of its tube (it will slide out in one piece), and then turn it into 1/2-inch slices. One of these should give you 8 of those pieces.
This next part is the part I'm still terrible at, but I plan on trying again. A bit of veggie oil in a pan, and what you want to do is make it crispy on the outside and warm on the inside. Chances are high that if you've ever been successful at making a grilled cheese sandwich, you'll be right on track. My history with grilled cheese sandwiches is a short and messy one. The first time I tried to fry polenta, there were a lot of crunchy black bits involved. I almost met the same fate tonight, but managed to turn the heat down and salvage dinner.
I know, the light in our kitchen is terrible, it looks like I'm frying bologna or olive loaf. Eight pieces feeds two people if you're doing dinner, or four if you want more of an appetizer.
The rest is easy; I shook a bit of salt and pepper over the polenta itself, then halved a bunch of grape tomatoes (they looked nice at the store; Heirlooms would probably be absolutely incredible in this dish), ribboned up my basil leaves, and piled that on top of the four slices, then gave it a generous helping of crumbled feta cheese. Absolute heaven.
This is a very easy dish to make, so long as you're more clever than I am with frying (medium heat would probably work, and did, after I got a talking to from Tom, who is by far the handier of the two of us with frying pan cooking). This is much closer to the real thing than my last attempt, and is a nice piece of a summer not yet here, and many gone by. Lots of fond memories with this dish, as simple as it is. <3 p="">