Chef Joe Cipro's Recipe Of The Week

Pan-Seared Polenta And Goat Cheese Cake With Braised Pears And Figs




Ingredients (serves 4)

8 oz polenta

4 oz goat cheese

4 pears (peeled and sliced)

2 oz butter

1 8 oz can, pear nectar

1 bay leaf

1 shallot (minced)

6 figs (quartered)

1 pinch cinnamon

4 oz olive oil

Salt and pepper to taste

Directions

Fill a large pot with a two-to-one ratio of water to polenta and bring to a boil. Once the water boils, add the minced shallot and bay leaf, then slowly pour in the polenta while whisking it in. Once you have added all the polenta, reduce the heat to a simmer and continue to stir often. Do this for an hour, then whisk in the butter to get the polenta to the right consistency.

When the polenta is finished, pour half of it into a deep baking dish and place in the fridge for 15 minutes to allow it to cool slightly, then remove and crumble the goat cheese over the top. Once done, pour in the rest of the polenta, and smooth with a spatula to even out the mixture. Then, place in the fridge for an hour.

While the polenta cake cools, start braising the pears and figs. Bring one cup of water and the can of pear nectar to a simmer, then add the cinnamon and place the pears in the hot liquid. Let them cook at a low simmer for rest of the time the polenta is cooling. Add the figs at the end and let them cook in the liquid for about 15 minutes.

When the polenta is set, cut it into four square pieces. Heat a large sauté pan and add the olive oil. When the oil is hot, fry the polenta cakes for about seven minutes on each side. Plate the dish with a healthy portion of the braised pears, figs, and of course, some of the braising liquid.