… Polenta Lasagne or Polagne, as i like to call it.
Sunday afternoon’s sunshine brought with it the desire to get out for a wee stroll and what better excuse than to go shopping. But my friends, i mean shopping in the Green & Leithy sense, the kind where you don’t need money but you do need a pair of scissors and a plastic bag. Shopping for my second love- monsieur Wild Garlic.
I admit i am quite obsessed with him but who can blame me? Its abundant, free, delicious. On a more serious (and possibly more persuasive) note, wild garlic has many health benefits. Reportedly this plant has/ can*:
- Control blood pressure: wild garlic brings relief for many hypertension (high blood pressure) sufferers
- Antiseptic properties
- Prevent strokes
- Helps prevent Thrombosis
- Antibacterial properties
- Detoxifying properties
(As it may lead to thinning of the blood it’s not recommended for pregnant women/ young children etc).
So i found a new patch from which to forage, a patch that also included some beautiful Spring Nettles- bonus. I trotted home with that wonderful feeling of peace that i get from stocking up on Mother Nature’s bounty, thanking her for both my supplies and the beautiful afternoon.
Now, to get back to the food. Inspired by the natural goodness of my loot i went big on earthy, rich flavours. I decided to take the basic principles of a free form lasagne and transform them into a Gluten- free and Vegan dish that was both wholesome but not too overwhelmingly heavy. I used the mushroom stock from my last post and Almond milk to cook some Polenta, once cooled i spread it onto a baking sheet and baked it for a bit longer. This would form the sheets of the Polagne and from there i briefly roasted some greens, lovingly sautéed my Garlic and Nettles and then it was just a simple case of assembly.
The Polenta sheet and the other components yielded from this recipe would happily serve 6. I only used a third of the Polenta but went with all the greens (we have very healthy appetites when it comes to those!) Vegan, Gluten- Free.
- 135g Medium Polenta
- 250ml Mushroom Stock
- 250ml Almond Milk
- 1 tablespoon of Olive Oil
- Preheat your oven to 180c, Line a roasting tray with parchment and brush lightly with oil
- Heat the milk and stock in a medium pan until just boiled
- Stir in the Polenta and continue to stir until thick (about 4 minutes for me but it depends on your Polenta)
- Leave to cool for a few minutes before spreading onto your baking tray
- Drizzle with the oil and bake for 15/ 20 minutes or until golden
- 1/4 head of Broccoli
- 3 handfuls of Curly Kale
- 4 Mushrooms
- teaspoon of Fennel Seeds
- 1/2 tablespoon of Olive Oil
- scant pinch of Sea Salt
- Tear and slice your veggies
- Pop into the roasting tray you cooked the polenta in and coat in the oil, fennel seeds and salt
- Bake at 180c for 8 minutes
- 3 Shallots, finely sliced
- 1 stick of Celery, roughly chopped
- 6 handfuls of Wild Garlic
- handful of Wild Nettles
- I tablespoon of Olive Oil
- Wash the garlic thoroughly and allow to dry a wee bit
- Rinse the nettles in boiling water (to remove the sting) then in cold water to stop them cooking
- Squeeze out the excess water and roughly chop
- Heat half the oil in a frying pan and add the shallots and celery, coking for 5 minutes on a medium heat
- Add the remaining oil and handfuls of the garlic at a time until its all wilted (about 4 minutes)
- Add the nettles and cook for 2 minutes.
- To assemble your Polagne, cut two equal rectangles (or 6 if serving more)
- Lay one rectangle on your baking sheets, spoon some of the garlic mix on top, followed by some of the roasted veggies, add your other rectangle of polenta and repeat
- You can either serve this immediately or pop back in the oven for 10 minutes, i sprinkled some Nutritional Yeast on top just before the final bake.
Quick Pickled Salad:
Wild Garlic can be a tad bitter (especially the older shoots) so i marinated my remaining leaves in the following…
- 1 tablespoon of Apple Cyder Vinegar
- juice of 1/2 a Lemon
- 1/2 teaspoon of Mustard Seeds
- Combine all these ingredients in a measuring jug
- Add the garlic and any other salad veg you’d like to include (i used red onion and cucumber)
- Cover with a secure piece of cling film
- Toss everything real well every so often, until at least 5 minutes has passed
- Serve with freshly toasted seeds on top.