Instead of the usual basil with eggplant, peppers, tomatoes, and summer squash, I took it in a different kind of Mediterranean direction with olives and feta. The veggies are served in a pile over a bowl of soft polenta and topped with feta and, optionally, pine nuts. Delicious! If you like, substitute quinoa for up to half of the cornmeal in the polenta.
4 1/2 cups water
1 1/2 cups coarse corn meal/polenta meal
1 1/2 tsp salt
1 large eggplant, peeled and thinly sliced
1 large summer squash, sliced into 1-2" strips (or substitute zucchini)
2 medium sweet peppers (ripe), sliced into strips
1 1/2 - 2 cups peeled, seeded, and diced fresh tomatoes
6-8 cloves garlic, minced
3 Tbsp good quality minced olives or olive tapenade (or to taste)
1/2 tsp dried oregano
Salt and pepper to taste
Crumbled feta for topping
Toasted pine nuts for topping (optional)
To make the polenta, bring the water to a boil in a medium saucepan. Stir in the cornmeal (and quinoa if using) and salt and whisk to prevent lumps. Reduce heat and simmer, stirring occasionally, until it reaches the desired thickness.
While the polenta cooks, heat a bit of olive oil in a large skillet or Dutch oven. Add the eggplant and squash and saute over medium heat, stirring frequently, until partially tender. Add the peppers, garlic, and tomatoes, plus a bit more oil if needed, and continue to saute until the vegetables are pleasantly tender. The eggplant should be quite soft. Stir in the olive or tapenade along with the oregano and salt and pepper to taste.
Serve the veggies in mounds over bowls of soft polenta. Top with feta and pine nuts (if using) at the table.
Serves about 6.