Growing up I called my mom’s friends by their first names, with the addition of the Southern conventional title of respect, Mr. or Miss. To this day, in my mid-30’s, I still think of my mom’s friends as “Miss Irene and Mr. Joe”; “Miss Trina and Mr. Stuart.” My brothers and I called our stepdad “Mr. Bob”, simply because that’s how my mom introduced us to him, and the name stuck, even during their marriage.
Mr. Bob loved grits for breakfast. Cooked smooth and creamy with a dollop of butter on top. I didn’t realize until I was older that polenta is just a fancy name for grits. It’s all stone-ground cornmeal, whether white cornmeal or yellow. Although I remember Mr. Bob’s grits were always white, while all polenta meals I’ve made and eaten have been made with yellow cornmeal.
This polenta meal I dreamed about. Literally. It was the middle of winter, and I guess my subconscious wanted summertime because I dreamed of creamy polenta topped with grilled vegetables. Here’s what my summertime grill prep looks like:
Super easy: chop the veggies in large chunks, skewer the onions so they don’t get all wiley on you and fall through the grill grates, olive oil, s+p, and lemon zest. While the veggies are grilling, cook up the polenta, and then serve family style.
My husband doesn’t mind sharing a plate with me…and I love eating family style mainly because it means less dishes. Doing dishes is not so dreamy.
SUMMER GRILLED VEGETABLES WITH CREAMY POLENTA
- 1 cup polenta
- 2-3 medium zucchini, cut into thirds
- 1 large yellow or sweet onion, cut into large chunks
- 8-10 mini sweet peppers
- zest and juice of 1 lemon
- fresh chopped basil for garnish
- Make the polenta according to package directions. The key to creamy polenta is to really follow the directions and let it cook for a full 30 minutes while stirring!
- Prep your grill and allow appropriate time to get sizzling hot.
- Prep the veggies: Place in a large bowl and drizzle with olive oil, s+p, and lemon zest.
- Grill the veggies, turning occasionally, until yummily charred and cooked.
- To serve, divide the polenta evenly among plates, top with an assortment of grilled veggies, sprinkle with fresh lemon juice and basil. Alternately, serve family style, piling the polenta and grilled veggies on one large plate.