Winter Vegetables Served with Polenta Pancake

Showcasing contemporary Savoyard cuisine—Chef Jean Sulpice’s specialty—this appetizer can be served cold or warm, or accompany a main, like hearty braised beef or steak. If you can’t find salsify (a "forgotten vegetable"), substitute parsnips, Jerusalem artichokes or artichoke hearts. Recipe courtesy Jean Sulpice, Chef, L’Oxalys, Val
Thorens, France.

W.E. WINE RECOMMENDATION: Consider a Beaujolais such as the Domaine du Vissoux 2006 Les Trois Roches Moulin à Vent for this dish. The concentration of the dark cherry fruits and edge of licorice harmonizes well with the thick, earthy texture of the warming vegetables.

  • 6 cups vegetable bouillon
  • 2 cups polenta
  • 1 sweet potato (sliced 1/8" thick)
  • 6 Brussels sprouts
  • (leaves pulled off)
  • 1 small cauliflower (cut into flowerets)
  • 1/2 pound green beans (trimmed)
  • 1/2 pound salsify
  • 2 endives (cut in half lengthwise)
  • Argan oil (or olive oil or walnut oil)
  • Balsamic vinegar
  • Sea salt

For the polenta:
Boil the vegetable stock in a large, heavy saucepan. Pour in the polenta gradually and stir. Season with salt and pepper. Reduce temperature and simmer gently for one hour, stirring regularly. The polenta will be quite thick and starting to dry out when done.

After the polenta cools slightly, lay it out on a piece of baking parchment or wax paper. Cover the polenta with a second piece of paper, and then roll out the polenta with a rolling pin between the two layers until it is 1/4 inch thick. Reserve.

For the vegetables:
While the polenta is cooking, wash the vegetables. Separate the individual leaves of the Brussels sprouts. Steam or cook in boiling water each of the vegetables separately until done (sweet potato, Brussels sprout leaves, cauliflower, green beans, salsify), cooling them in ice water so they keep their original color.

Braise the sliced endive in a little olive oil until lightly browned.

To assemble:
Slice the polenta pastry into rectangles 4″ x 6″. Arrange the vegetables on top of each polenta rectangle, varying colors between the rows. Drizzle with argan oil and balsamic vinegar, and season with sea salt. Serves four.

Published on July 8, 2010