We celebrated Valentine’s day early this year. Actually, we celebrate most holidays early around here… at least food-wise. Christmas cookies in October, Thanksgiving food in late August and so on.
I’m not sure what we’re doing for “real” Valentine’s yet – but once I got this recipe just right and the pictures were done, Jack and I sat down to a romantic (albeit reheated) meal for two. The only caveat – Jack doesn’t like beets. He’s not a picky eater but beets are on his short list of foods he usually won’t touch. I originally tried this recipe with other roasted vegetables but the juicy sweetness of the beets went SO well with the creamy earthy flavor of the polenta. The little heart-like-shaped red beets combined with the pink and white striped Chioggia beets just needed to be here. Also, since I love beets and you love beets (right?), he was outnumbered this time.
Me: “So I know you don’t prefer beets, but don’t you think they work really well in this case – just a few of them – with the other vegetables and creamy polenta and this lemony dijon dressing kind of covers them up right? I mean, I know how much you love mustard.
Him: “They’re still beets.”
Me: “Remember that one time when I made beets and told you they were turnips and you ate them and you liked them?”
Him: “Yes, but this time I know they are beets and I can’t un-think that”
Me: “But if you didn’t watch me make this and you closed your eyes and ate this, you would probably be ok with this whole combination right? You would probably not even notice the beets.
Him: (as he’s licking his plate clean, btw.) “Ok… of all the way that I’ve had beets, this makes them taste the least beet-y. Plus this polenta is [flipping] awesome.”
That new discovery was a happy accident but it worked. I made the polenta and when it was almost done (not quite thickened), I let it cool, and put it in the fridge. I took it out the next day, heated it on the stove while whisking in a bit of water, and voila! The polenta was creamier in texture and had more mellow flavor than a “fresh” version I tested earlier.
This recipe serves 2, but can be easily doubled to serve 4.