Here’s another meat-free dish. I was looking for a way to make a vegetarian polenta dish topped with something hearty and saucy. I came up with an eggplant-portabella mushroom stir-fry with a marsala-soy sauce. I never grew up eating polenta (or grits), but it’s really one of my favorite carbs (first comes rice). A braised meat over polenta is heavenly, but this vegetarian stir-fry is just as good.
You’ll need to salt the eggplant for about thirty minutes, but once you’ve done that, this dish takes about 30 minutes or less of active cooking time. I use a quick or instant cooking polenta. It couldn’t be easier. A packet of instant polenta can be found in the pasta aisle in better supermarkets.
Here is what you’ll need:
- 2 medium eggplants, cut in strips 3 inches in length, 1 inch wide
- 1 and 1/2 cups canola oil
- 3 large portabella mushrooms, cut in half and sliced into 1/2 inch strips
- 3 cloves garlic, minced
- 3 green onions, white and light green parts, thinly sliced
- 1/2 tsp. crushed red pepper
- pinch of ground white pepper
- 1/2 cup sweet marsala wine
- 1 tbsp. light soy sauce
- splash of stock or water
Place the cut eggplant in a colander with a large bowl underneath. Salt the eggplant and leave it for at least 30 minutes. Rinse the eggplant and dry with paper towels.
In a wok, add the oil and heat under high heat. Fry the eggplant pieces in 3 batches for 4 minutes each. Using a slotted spoon, take the eggplant out and set aside on a paper towel lined plate.
Pour out all the oil from the wok except for about 3 tbsp. Add the portabella mushrooms and stir-fry for about 4 minutes. Add the garlic, green onions, crushed red pepper, white pepper and cook for a further minute.
Add the marsala wine and light soy sauce and cook for about 5 more minutes. Half the liquid should evaporate. You can always add a splash of stock or water if there is not enough liquid in the wok.
Make the instant polenta. Follow the packet directions. Polenta is excellent with butter (only about a tablespoon or two) and a handful of grated parmesan cheese. Don’t forget the salt. Once the polenta is done (a nice thick and creamy consistency), spoon some in a bowl and top with the eggplant-portabella mushroom stir-fry.