Polenta Pescatore

I blame it on growing up with an Italian step-father and all of the very valid arguments about who does food better; northerners or southerners; zia Louisa or zia Carmena, et cetera and so on – but I really like taking the piss out of Italian-inspired cooking by meshing north and south and tossing proper methods to the wind.

That is honky-white-Canadian-girl privilege.

Add feeling particularly lazy + being gifted with a bouquet of fresh parsley and basil + having a sac full of frozen, prepared polenta meant making the bastardiest of delicious dirty bastard dishes: polenta pescatore. 


What you need:

  • 1 medium red onion, diced
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 red pepper, finely chopped
  • 2 cups frozen seafood
  • 1/4 cup water (if you defeated your seafood in water, use that!)
  • 1/4 cup whiskey, vodka, or dry, white wine
  • Pinch of nutmeg
  • 1 pint grape tomatoes, halved
  • 1 tbsp butter
  • 1/2 cup fresh parsley, chopped
  • 1/2 cup fresh basil, chopped
  • Ground pepper to taste
  • 2 tbsp vegetable oil
  • 6 half inch slices of prepared polenta
  • Grated Parmesan, Asiago, or Romano cheese for serving

What you do:

  1. Heat the olive oil in a heavy frying pan over medium-low.
  2. Add the onion and cook until translucent.
  3. Begin frying polenta slices in vegetable oil over medium-low heat.
  4. Add the red pepper.
  5. Simmer until everything is very soft.
  6. Add the seafood, water, and booze.
  7. Let simmer for 10 minutes, stirring occasionally.
  8. Add the tomatoes and nutmeg and let simmer another ten minutes, stirring occasionally.
  9. Stir the parsley and basil. 
  10. Serve over fried polenta slices, top with cheese and freshly ground black pepper to taste.
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