Fresh corn is blended and cooked with butter, salt, and pepper to create this light and festive vegetarian meal. The sweet corn polenta can be topped with your favorite roasted vegetables, a drizzle of olive oil and some cheese. We went for roasted zucchini, cauliflower, corn, and onions, and some wild asparagus and fresh spinach. Then we tossed a variety of edible flowers and herbs on top.
A couple of weeks ago Einav and I went to visit a local organic farm. We’d been cooped up in our homes for weeks due to corona and it felt amazing to get outside and see some green. Farma Cultura is a family-run farm that grows delicious organic produce using permaculture methods. This gives an almost wild feeling to the farm and makes you feel like you are in nature, surrounded by an abundance of colors and flowers and leafy greens. They have a farm shop with their own gorgeous produce and other food and goods from local, eco-friendly, mom and pop suppliers.
What further excited us about the farm was that they offer true farm to table experiences. They host seasonal events and gatherings that celebrate nature connection, good food, and community. They also offer all different unique farm experiences such as buying a picnic basket filled with just-picked produce and eating it as you look out at the rows of vegetables.
Straight From the Field
We spent the afternoon with Gil, the owner of the farm, learning about the different types of vegetables, flowers, and fruit that they grow. It was almost startling to taste the vegetables straight from the vine. They were so sweet and crisp and full of their own unique flavor. As we walked Gil filled up a basket of all different produce. Then we spent the rest of the evening preparing a meal together, and enjoying it, as we looked out at the rows of shades of green and purple and yellow.
As we shared our meal we were lucky enough to hear the story behind the farm. The Farma is a true family business, originally founded by Gil’s grandfather when he moved to Israel and later abandoned after his death. Gil and her husband both grew up in agricultural families and were lucky enough to have been raised on the taste of vegetables picked straight from the land. They drifted away from the countryside and built a life in Tel Aviv studying and becoming parents. One day visiting the crumbling and abandoned farm overflowing with plants, Gil describes a spark that they both felt inside, a connection to her family’s land a strong desire to cultivate it and nourish it. Over the next few years they rebuilt the farm and along with it a community of friends and family and local businesses who have similar values and love for organic produce, permaculture, and the farm to table movement.
Sweet Corn Polenta
I got the idea for this recipe from a delicious dish by the genius Ottolenghi posted by Food52. In Ottolenghi’s recipe, he mixes feta in with the polenta and tops it with an eggplant sauce. His dish is awesome, but I wanted something lighter and summery. The taste of the sweet corn was so bright and fresh that I didn’t think it even needed the feta, although feel free to add some if you desire. The corn kernels are cooked for a few minutes then blended in a food processor and then cooked again with the butter, salt, and pepper.
Next, I roasted some vegetables on a special grilling pan that I have, but they would be perfect on the barbecue or in the oven as well. We took different produce from the farm and ended up with a delicious mix of asparagus, cauliflower, corn, onions, fennel, spinach and herbs. Choose your own mix by whatever is in season and ripe in your fridge. For a final touch, I topped it off with a drizzle of olive oil, some grated parmesan, and some edible flowers growing on the farm.
Thank you “Kami- flowers and gifts” for the gorgeous bouquet! It added so much to our picnic! You can find this beautiful flower shop in Tel Aviv.
And thanks again Farma Cultura for a wonderful day spent exploring and taking pictures at the farm!
Sweet Corn Polenta
- 4 cups corn kernels, about 8-9 corns make sure it's fresh and sweet, the taste of the dish relies on the quality of the corn
- 2.5 cups water
- 25 grams butter (unsalted)
- 1 teaspoon himalayan salt if using regular salt start with a 3/4 teaspoon and taste to see if it needs more
- 1/8 teaspoon black pepper, or a couple of grinds
- Your favorite vegetables to roast on the grill or in your oven. I've enjoyed different varieties of cauliflower, fennel, onion, asparagus, cherry tomatoes, and zucchini
- Fresh herbs and greens- I recommend baby spinach, basil, cilantro, oregano, or any other fresh herbs that you enjoy.
- pecorino, parmesan, or feta (optional)
- Cut corn kernels off of the cob.
- Put kernels in a deep frying pan or pot and just cover with the 2.5 cups of water.
- Bring to a boil and then turn down your flame and simmer for about 10 minutes.
- Remove corn from the pot with a slotted spoon and put into a food processor.
- Blend for about 2 minutes, pausing halfway to scrape the sides. The corn should be completely smooth and blended.
- Pour about half of the water from your original pot into a bowl and leave it on the side, as you might need it later, while leaving half of the water in the pot.
- Pour your corn puree back into the pot and mix to combine with the water.
- Bring back to a light boil, turn down your flame and simmer for 5 minutes.
- Add your butter, salt, and pepper and continue simmering for about 10 minutes more or until your polenta is the consistency and thickness that you desire. You can always add in some more water from the bowl if it gets too thick. Make sure to mix often throughout so that the polenta doesn't stick to the pot.
- Prepare a tray of your favorite roasted vegetables on the grill or in your oven. I've enjoyed different varieties of cauliflower, fennel, onion, asparagus, cherry tomatoes, and zucchini
- We like garnishing the polenta and roasted vegetables with fresh herbs and greens. I recommend baby spinach, basil, cilantro, oregano, or any other fresh herbs that you enjoy.
- Grate or crumble some cheese on top. We like pecorino, parmesan, or feta.