LUCY BURDETTE: A couple of times a year I have the pleasure of going to New York City. It's a very big place, as you can imagine. Even so, I somehow end up visiting the same spots--one of them is an amazing bookstore called the Strand and the other is a food shop/cheese market/pasta store/restaurant/meat market/gelato purveyor (you get the idea) called Eataly. There are lots of little mini-restaurants inside the Eataly building. John and I have eaten there three visits in a row, and I've managed to talk him into the vegetarian place all three times. And that is because the food is so good!
The dish he ordered this last time was amazing and I decided I should try to make my own version. Here's what it looked like at Eataly before John dug in.
I think you can use whatever vegetables appeal to you. I shopped at the farmer's market, and came up with carrots, a white onion, broccolini, radishes (which he was lukewarm about) and then some snow peas from our garden.
3 carrots, cleaned and cut into chunks
2 radishes, quartered
small white onion
big handful of snow peas
cup of broccolini or broccoli florets
(May substitute asparagus, fiddleheads, green beans, etc.)
Clean all the veggies and cut them into bite-sized pieces. Set aside.
2 oz. fresh parmesan, grated (This should be a block of cheese, not the stuff in a green can)
Grate the parmesan with the large holes of a grater. Heat the oven to 400 degrees. Grease a cookie pan covered with parchment paper (or use silpat on the cookie sheet.) Mound the grated cheese, about 1 Tbsp per wafer, leaving an inch or more between them. Bake at 400 for about 4-5 minutes, watching carefully so they don't burn. At first the cheese will melt and bubble, then it will gradually turn golden. Take them out quick!
1 cup cornmeal grits
2 cups chicken broth
1 cup water
1 cup cheddar cheese, grated
Bring three cups of water and broth to a boil, and slowly add the grits or polenta. Reduce to low heat and simmer about 1/2 hour, whisking often to keep lumps from forming, and so it doesn't stick to the pan. (Take care because the grits will "pop" and can burn.) Mix in the cheese and 2 tablespoons butter, and set aside.
Quickly stir-fry the vegetables in olive oil until tender but still crisp. Serve them on the hot polenta, garnished with Parmesan wafers.
And though we may be biased, we declared this dinner delicious:).
Lucy's Key West food critic mysteries can be found wherever books are sold! Follow Lucy on Twitter and "like" her on Facebook.