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Inspired by Yotam Ottolenghi - Sweetcorn Polenta

4 yr, 2 m ago in Recipes
Comments | Tags: summer season, Yotam Ottolenghi, sweetcorn, recipe

The summer veg have been great over the past few weeks - courgettes, aubergines and peppers, beautiful tomatoes. They  really invite that mediterranean treatment and in the shop we reckon no-one does it quite like Yotam Ottolenghi. Eastern Mediterranean roots inspire his cooking as he draws on all the influences from that part of the world, with Arab and North African spices mingling with fresh herbs.  He is not exclusively vegetarian but he is very creative in his use of vegetables and offers highly original recipes that bring out the best in the veg lifting them above the status of side dish!

Ottolenghi specials!Heather has been thinking about the variouis ingredients he uses and has put a little display together in the Veg Shop to inspire you.  He uses many spice mixes including Ras el Hanout, Harissa Paste and Zaatar with the citrus flavour of sumac, smoked paprika and of course he loves bunches of fresh herbs.Fresh Flat leaf parsley  He also makes wonderful use of date syrup and pomegranate molasses!


Meanwhile - I came across this recipe in his book Plenty (p266) and loved it.  As it is the height of the sweetcorn season at the moment it seemed an appropriate one to share.


Sweetcorn Polenta


English corn from Sussex

  • 6 corn on the cob
  • 500ml water 
  • 40g (ie a generous knob) butter, (or vegan margarine or olive oil...)
  • cheese, grated (Yotam suggests 200g Feta crumbled - it is very Mediterranean but I'm not a huge fan of feta so I used Cheddar)
  • salt and ground black pepper to season


  1. Dehusk and dehair the corn and cut the ends off so that you can stand them on end on your chopping board
  2. Taking a sharp knife run the blade down the length of each cob slicing the kernels off and turning them round as you go.
  3. In a pan bring the water to the boil and cook the kernels until tender - about 10 minutes.
  4. Drain the corn but reserve the water
  5. Place the corn into a food processor and blitz for several minutes.  You're aiming to break down the tough skins of the corn as far as you can to get a really smooth texture.  If the mixture seems a little dry then add some of the reserved cooking water
  6. Return the corn puree to the pan and heat gently, stirring frequently, until it starts to thicken (avoid boiling spurts of polenta!)
  7. Add the butter
  8. Remove from the heat and stir in the cheese.
  9. Season with salt and ground black pepper.

Yotam suggests this as a side dish for an aubergine sauce - which I adapted slightly.  It was delicious.  Much lighter and fresher in texture than polenta made from cornmeal.  You could use it as an accompaniment to any stewy type dish but I would imagine it suiting a beanie chilli very well.  Or roast a pan of mixed peppers, courgettes, mushrooms and tomatoes with some garlic and some rosemary - it would be awesome!


PS When I made it I didn't have 6 cobs I only had two - to bulk up the mixture I used frozen sweetcorn which I put in with the cooking kernels a few minutes before the end.  It was Very Satisfactory and served three of us comfortably.

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