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Grape Sofrito on Grilled Polenta

California Table Grape Commission
From: Chef Scott Samuel, CIA Greystone, CA. Yield: 12 pieces.

Grape Sofrito:
½ cup olive oil
1 cup white onion
1 cup red bell pepper, cored and diced
1 cup green bell pepper, cored and diced
1 cup red seedless grapes, quartered
¼ cup black seedless grapes, halved for garnish
½ tsp. kosher salt
pinch of cayenne pepper

1 Tbsp. butter, for greasing dish
3 cups milk
1 bay leaf
1 jalapeno, roasted, stemmed, seeded and minced
1 cup polenta
½ cup Parmesan, finely grated
½ tsp. kosher salt
¼ cup mascarpone

For grape sofrito: In small, heavy-duty saucepan over medium heat, combine the olive oil, onions and both peppers. Stir to combine, add a pinch of salt and cook slowly for about 30 to 40 minutes, stirring occasionally to make sure vegetables don’t get any color. Turn heat lower if you start to get dark spots on the pan. When mixture is soft and very flavorful, remove from heat and add 1 cup of rinsed and quartered red grapes. Stir to combine and cook another 3 to 4 minutes, just to combine flavors and soften the grapes. Season with salt and remove from  heat.

For polenta: Butter a 9”x9” baking dish for cooling the finished polenta. In small saucepot, combine milk, bay leaf and minced roasted jalapeno and bring to a simmer. Cook on low for about 5 minutes; add polenta in slow stream while stirring the milk slowly. Stir with a wooden spoon occasionally until the mixture becomes thick and grain has absorbed all of the milk, about 30 minutes. Pour into prepared dish and smooth out top of the warm polenta; chill for 2 hours. Cut into 1” circles and set aside for grilling.

Preheat a grill pan over medium-high heat. Cook polenta bites on hot grill pan for 4 minutes per side, making sure to get good grill marks and color.

To serve: Place 3 griled polenta bites on small plate and top with 1 Tbsp. of the warm grape sofrito. Add a small dollop of mascarpone and then a grape half. Serve warm or at room temperature.

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