Creamy Green Asparagus Polenta
For the Polenta:
cup of water
cloves of garlic – left whole
cup fine ground cornmeal/polenta
cup unsweetened plain oat milk
cup non dairy sour cream, at room temperature
teaspoon kosher salt, plus more for seasoning
pinch of freshly ground black pepper
tablespoons vegan butter
tablespoons of pine nuts – lightly toasted
microgreens – for garnishing (optional)
For the Charred Asparagus:
spears green asparagus – washed and dried
pinch of kosher salt
Freshly ground black pepper
teaspoon fresh lemon zest
teaspoon fresh lemon juice
tablespoon olive oil
For the Chili Oil:
dried red chili – broken
teaspoon red chili flakes
clove of garlic – minced
cinnamon stick – broken
cup neutral oil
Make the chili oil: place all of the spices in a small bowl. Heat the oil in a small pan over medium-high heat. Once hot, carefully pour over the spices, mix and set aside.
Char the asparagus: Cut the asparagus on the bias in 2 inch pieces. Heat a large pan over medium-high heat. Add in the oil, and once hot, add in the asparagus. Using tongs, sauté in the oil. After 1 minute, add in a big pinch of kosher salt and ground black pepper. After about 5-7 minutes, once the asparagus is just fork tender, add in fresh lemon juice, toss and remove from heat. Top with fresh lemon zest.
Make polenta: In a large pot, add 1 cup water with the 2 cloves of garlic over medium-high heat, and bring to a boil. Once boiling, use tongs or a slotted spoon to quickly remove the garlic cloves and slowly pour in the polenta while whisking. Once all the polenta is in, keep whisking until the mixture is smooth with no large lumps. Reduce heat to low, so the mixture is just simmering. Whisk occasionally over the course of 5 minutes until the polenta is swollen and thickening. Then add in the oat milk, stir, cover and cook for about 20-25 minutes until the polenta is soft and cooked up. Remove from the heat and add in a big pinch of kosher salt, freshly ground pepper, the sour cream and 1 tbsp of the vegan butter. Whisk in until smooth and taste to adjust for salt.
Plating: Pour the polenta into a large serving dish. Top with remaining 1 tbsp of vegan butter, asparagus and drizzle on chili oil. Garnish with toasted pine nuts and microgreens (if using). Serve immediately.