Polenta is a very light summer-style dish if you prepare it just by cooking cornmeal in water on the stove. But you can also make polenta more winter-style if you bake it in a casserole dish. You can really play around with this versatile grain dish.
I first prepared standard polenta by cooking 1 cup cornmeal (or special polenta flour, but don´t use the instant one) with 3 cups of water and a pinch of salt. There are different ways to cook polenta, but I personally soak the flour and water overnight and the next day I just bring it slowly to boil and simmer on a low flame under a lid for about half an hour to 45 minutes, without any stirring or other interfering. Then I let it rest with a flame off for 5-10 minutes, it also helps to unstick from the bottom of the pot.
While your polenta cooks, you can sautee veggies on some oil – I used sliced onion and leek, finely cut curly cabbage and finely diced carrot, with a pinch of salt of course to draw out the juices of the vegetables. I also added some arame seaweed which I soaked beforehand for about half an hour, discarding the soaking water. Season with more salt (the veggies will get mixed with polenta, so you need a stronger flavour), fresh or dried rosemary and some pressed garlic cloves.
When the polenta is cooked, stir in the vegetable/arame sautee and transfer content of the pot into a casserole dish and allow to cool.
Now – you can either pop the polenta into the oven to brown the surface a bit and make the polenta more warming (otherwise it has a more cooling overall effect) or you can just slice it up and eat as is (room temperature, might be nice on hot days), or you can even make slices and pan-fry them with some oil. That´s up to you! 😀