What’s been cooking in the Dinner Diva kitchen? Here are two recipes we made recently that are quite delicious together: Polenta with Rosemary and Grilled Swordfish. Plus, if you’re avoiding dairy and gluten, I included instructions for making them gluten-free (GF) and diary-free.

Polenta with Rosemary Recipe (GF, Dairy-Free & Vegan Substitutions in Chef’s Notes)

See my modifications to make this polenta GF, diary-free and vegan.

See my modifications to make this polenta GF, diary-free and vegan.

This original recipe is from Ina Garten (available on the Food Network website) and is delicious alongside grilled swordfish.

Ingredients

  • 1/4 pound (1 stick) unsalted butter
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 1 Tablespoon minced garlic (3 cloves)
  • 1 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
  • 1 teaspoon minced fresh rosemary leaves
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 3 cups chicken stock, preferably homemade
  • 2 cups half-and-half
  • 2 cups milk
  • 2 cups cornmeal
  • 1/2 cup grated parmesan
  • Flour, olive oil and butter for frying

Directions

Heat the butter and olive oil in a large saucepan. Add the garlic, red pepper flakes, rosemary, salt and pepper and sauté for 1 minute. Add the chicken stock, half-and-half and milk and bring to a boil. Remove from the heat and slowly sprinkle the cornmeal into the hot milk while stirring constantly with a whisk. Cook over low heat, stirring constantly for a few minutes, until thickened and bubbly. Turn off the heat and stir in the parmesan. Pour into a 9-by-13-by-2-inch pan; smooth the top and refrigerate until firm and cold.

Cut the chilled polenta into 12 squares, as you would with brownies. Lift each one out with a spatula and cut diagonally into triangles. Dust each triangle lightly in flour. Heat 1 Tablespoon olive oil and 1 Tablespoon butter in a large sauté pan and cook the triangles in batches over medium heat for 3 to 5 minutes, turning once, until browned on the outside and heated inside. Add more butter and oil, as needed. Serve immediately.

Chef’s Notes

Here are the changes I made to the recipe (including how to make it vegan, dairy-free and GF).

  1. First of all, I cut this recipe in half. If you are having a large party or barbecue then I would recommend the full recipe. Use a 1/2 sheet pan when preparing the polenta for a crowd, otherwise use a 1/4 sheet pan after you cook the polenta.
  2. Instead of regular butter I used Indian Ghee (clarified butter). What are the benefits of clarified butter? Read about them here.
  3. Instead of chicken broth, milk and heavy cream, I used a combination of vegetable broth (2 cups), unsweetened hazelnut milk (1 cup) and 1 cup polenta (yellow cornmeal). Any dairy-free substitute would work here (almond milk, oat milk, soy milk, etc.) as long as it’s unsweetened. However, coconut milk might be too sweet.
  4. Since I wanted to keep this dish dairy-free, I did not add the parmesan cheese as suggested in the original recipe. Instead I added 1/4 cup of a vegan cream cheese substitute after the polenta had thickened and before it was placed in the fridge to chill.
  5. Once the polenta has chilled and you have cut it into squares, circles or triangles you can pan-fry as directed or use a griddle to get the crispy texture on the outside. If you want to keep the recipe gluten-free make sure to use GF flour (instead of all-purpose flour) before pan-frying.
  6. Top with marinara sauce, a fresh salsa or a Spanish-inspired relish like the one below from Chef Bobby Flay.

Grilled Swordfish Recipe

This grilled swordfish is delicious alongside the polenta above!

This grilled swordfish is delicious alongside the polenta above!

This recipe is originally from Bobby Flay. We used it to make grilled swordfish and it was quite tasty! As a bonus, it’s naturally GF and dairy-free.

Ingredients

Chermoula:

  • Pinch of saffron threads
  • 1/4 cup hot water
  • 1 Tablespoon canola oil
  • 3 cloves garlic, finely chopped
  • 1 teaspoon ancho chile powder
  • 1 teaspoon ground coriander
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1/2 teaspoon chile de arbol
  • 1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 teaspoon finely grated lemon zest
  • Juice of 1 lemon
  • 2 red bell peppers, grilled, peeled, seeded and sliced
  • 2 ripe beefsteak tomatoes, diced and seeded
  • 20 fresh mint leaves, torn
  • 3 Tablespoons coarsely chopped fresh cilantro

Grilled White Fish:

  • 2 pound halibut (or swordfish) fillet, 1½ to 2 inches thick
  • Canola oil
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper

Directions

For the chermoula: Combine the saffron and hot water in a small bowl and let sit for 10 minutes to bloom. Heat the canola oil in a small sauté pan over medium heat. Add the garlic and cook for 30 seconds. Cook the ancho, coriander, cumin and chile de arbol for 1 minute. Add the saffron and its soaking water. Remove from the heat.

Whisk together the olive oil, lemon zest, lemon juice and garlic-saffron mixture in a medium bowl. Mix in the bell peppers, tomatoes, mint leaves and cilantro. Cover the bowl and let sit at room temperature for at least 30 minutes to allow the flavors to meld, or refrigerate overnight. Bring to room temperature before serving.

For the grilled white fish: Heat a charcoal grill for direct grilling at medium-high heat. Brush both sides of the halibut (or swordfish) with the canola oil and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Grill the halibut (or swordfish) until golden brown and charred on both sides and cooked to medium or well done, about 10 minutes each side.

Carefully transfer the halibut (or swordfish) to a platter and top with the chermoula immediately. Let the halibut (or swordfish) rest for 5 minutes before serving, to allow flavors to sink in.

Download and print the recipes here.

Have you had any success making polenta at home? What dishes did you pair it with?

Mary Hathaway, Owner of Dinner Diva, has been a personal chef since 2002. She cooks regularly for clients who have special dietary needs, value healthy cooking by using organic products where possible and those who want healthy family meals but have no time to cook. Whether it’s a dinner for 4, a holiday party for 20, or a set of meals for the week, all of the recipes are customized to her client’s needs or lifestyle. Go to: Dinner-Diva.com for more info.