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Creamy Polenta With Asparagus and Prosciutto

By Becky Low
This seasonal dish might be unfamiliar for some home cooks, but it's definitely worth a try.

Becky Low shares the recipe for creamy polenta.

Method:

Creamy Polenta With Asparagus and Prosciutto

Ingredients:

  • 8-10 spring onions*
  • 3 cloves garlic, thinly sliced
  • 3-4 slices prosciutto, cut in thin strips
  • 1 pound fresh asparagus
  • 2 cups chicken stock
  • 2 cups whole milk
  • ½ cup heavy cream
  • 1 cup corn grits or polenta**
  • 1 cup mascarpone cheese
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • 6 tablespoons butter, divided
  • 1 lemon, juice and zest

Method:

Clean onion and remove the root ends; set aside. Peel and thinly slice garlic cloves; set aside. Julienne slice proscuitto, or cut in thin matchsticks; set aside. Fill a large pan or bowl with ice and water; set aside. Wash and trim asparagus.

Place 5-cups water in a 4-qt saucepan, salt (until it tastes like the ocean); bring to a boil. Drop asparagus into boiling water, and cook until tender (about 2-4 minutes, depending on size of asparagus). Remove asparagus from boiling water and drop into ice water to shock, immediately cool and stop cooking (helps asparagus remain vibrant green in color. When cool, remove from ice water and set aside.

Place chicken stock, milk and cream into 4-quart saucepan and bring to a boil over medium to medium-high heat (don’t boil over). Whisking constantly, slowly pour polenta in a thin stream into boiling milk until it is well incorporated and mixture comes back to a boil. Reduce heat to low/simmer, add ½-teaspoon salt; remove whisk and stir with a wooden spoon, frequently, until polenta is thick as cream of wheat, about 30 minutes (note: mixture may pop; it’s helpful to place a lid askew on the pan to prevent popping and burning the person stirring). Remove from heat, season to taste with salt and pepper; fold in mascarpone cheese; cover and keep warm.

In large skillet melt 4-tablespoons butter over medium heat until butter foams. Add spring onion, garlic and proscuitto; saute until onions are wilted and slightly caramelized. Add asparagus, lemon juice and zest, let sizzle. Add remaining 2-tablespoons butter, shake pan to emulsify; season to taste with salt and pepper.

Place polenta in serving dish, top with asparagus and spring onions; serve immediately.

Notes:
Recipe is a delicious spring dish shared by Mary-Mac DeGroot, chef turned dairy farmer. The DeGroots dairy farm in Melba, Idaho (southwest of Boise). To see Chef Mary-Mac’s original recipe and hear her story click here. Recipe serves 6

* Spring onion is a new or young onion, harvested before the bulb forms. Spring onions are milder in taste than green onions or scallions.

** Polenta will clump if not whisked briskly while it is added to hot liquid. It must be stirred by thickening. Regular polenta takes about 30 minutes to cook. You may substitute quick cooking polenta for faster cooking and less time stirring.

Becky Low represents The Dairy Council of Utah/Nevada. For delicious dairy recipes and nutrition information go to www.dairycouncilutnv.com or Facebook www.facebook.com/DairyUTNV. For nutrition research go to www.nationaldairycouncil.org.

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