Over the past few days I have noticed that a lot of the food blogs based in the US have been posting recipes for finger foods or appetizers that they recommend for Superbowl parties. I live in Maryland and even though I am not a football fan (I am a die-hard soccer freak instead!) I feel that this year I should get into it because after a long time team my part of the country has made it to the Superbowl. The Washington Redskins won the Superbowl in 1992, the year that I had first moved to this area and now twenty years later the Baltimore Ravens are in the finals…so I guess I have no choice but to get into it! I have been invited by some good friends to their Superbowl party. I have to take some healthy appetizer and so I thought up of this combination of polenta, eggplant, roasted grape tomatoes and goat cheese. These make small 2-3 bite sliders that would work well at a rowdy football party!
1. One tube of cooked polenta (I use the organic polenta from Trader Joe’s)
2. 25-30 grape tomatoes (I used yellow and red ones)
3. 2-3 ounces of fresh goat cheese
4. 15-20 thin flakes of good quality Parmesan Cheese
5. 5-6 small Indian eggplants (or use any other kind of eggplant)
6. 4-5 cloves of garlic
7. A few sprigs of fresh thyme
8. Salt and pepper to taste
9. 1 tablespoon of Pomegranate molasses (or aged balsamic vinegar)
10. 2 tablespoons of extra virgin olive oil
11. 1 tablespoon honey
1. Heat the oven at 350 degrees.
4. Heat an iron skillet on low heat and pour 1-2 teaspoons of extra virgin olive oil in it and place the eggplant pieces into the skillet (face down, if you are using the Indian eggplant). Slowly cook the eggplant over low heat on both sides. Half way through the process of cooking the eggplant, add the peeled cloves of garlic to let them get cooked slowly in the skillet.
6. Slice the Polenta tube into slices about ½ inch thick and place them in the nonstick pan.
7. While the Polenta and the eggplant slices are getting cooked, take the roasted tomatoes out of the oven (after 15 minutes of roasting).
8. Place all the roasted tomatoes (and the juice that they released at the bottom of the pan) into a small bowl. Make the sauce by adding salt, pepper, honey, pomegranate molasses (or balsamic) over the roasted tomatoes.
9. Finely chop up a few leaves of Thyme and put those over the roasted tomatoes.
10. Take the cooked garlic cloves out of the skillet and coarsely mash them with a spoon and add them to the bowl containing roasted tomatoes. Mix everything gently.
11. When the polenta looks crispy and toasted on both sides, take it out of the pan and place the cooked slices on a cookie sheet.
13. Top each slice with a little bit of the roasted tomato sauce and a little bit of goat cheese.
14. Place these in the oven for another 4-5 minutes to melt the goat cheese a little bit.
15. Garnish with a slice of shaved Parmesan cheese and a sprig of fresh thyme on top. Serve while the polenta bites are still hot!