Then the fateful moment came: the waitress explained the daily special. I've been smitten ever since. I have tried to recreate this recipe multiple times, the only catch is, that event in the shady part of town was so long ago, I don't really remember how it tasted, but I still have fun playing around with this recipe.
I hear polenta isn't hard to make, but I just use the store-bought stuff because it eliminates one extra step in the multi-component meal. The hard thing about this recipe is you have to do about three things at exactly the same time right before you serve, but I have faith that you can do it.
Again, the recipe makes enough for a party (8 people), so adjust as needed.
Chicken, Eggplant, and Polenta with Roasted-Red Pepper Sauce
- 2 large red bell peppers
- 1 8-oz can tomato sauce
- 1 tablespoon chopped or minced garlic
- oregano, to taste
- 1/4 cup heavy cream
- 8 chicken breasts
- 2 large eggplants
- Freshly grated Parmesan cheese
- 2 packages pre-made polenta
- salt and pepper, to taste
- extra virgin olive oil for drizzling and sauteing
- feta cheese, for garnish
Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Place the chicken breasts in a roasting pan, coat with a little olive oil, salt, and pepper. Roast for about 10-12 minutes, until they have a nice, golden crispiness to the tops. Pull out of the oven and cover with the red pepper sauce.
Switch the oven to broil. Slice the eggplant into 8 slices each. Heavily salt both sides of the slices, and let them sit out for a few minutes. This will draw out some of the water and allow them to stay a little more firm when roasting. Wipe off the salt with a paper towel, and brush with a little olive oil (the eggplant absorbs the olive oil very easily, so just don't pour it on and expect to spread it around: use a brush). Lay them out on a baking sheet, and top with some pepper and Parmesan cheese. Broil them until the cheese is crispy and you have a crust on the top, just a few minutes! After you pull them out, quickly replace with the roasting pan of chicken and sauce to heat it up. This is the tricky part: keeping everything hot until you serve.
Meanwhile, cut the polenta into slices. Saute a little on both sides until warm in a pan on the stove. When they're ready, put a few on a plate, then top with a slice or two of eggplant, then one of the chicken breasts with plenty of sauce. Top with some feta, and serve immediately.