I started making this dish when we lived in Hawaii (sometime in the late 1990s). I don’t recall getting a recipe from a particular source but seem to remember serving all kinds of things over grilled polenta cakes was very popular at the time. As much as I look to canned, boxed, and ready-made ingredients when cooking, I have always made polenta from “scratch”. This tube of polenta was pretty darn good, so I will not be going down that road again! Savory black beans – made with canned beans, onions, bell peppers, salsa, and a handful of spices – make a quick meal when served over grilled polenta cakes. A great dish when there are vegetarians at the table (or the meat-eaters just want a break)!
* 2 cans black beans, rinsed and drained
* 1 green bell pepper and 1 red, orange or yellow bell pepper, finely diced
* 1 medium onion, finely diced
* 1 or 2 cloves finely chopped garlic (optional)
* olive oil for sauteing
* 1/4 teaspoon cumin seeds or ground cumin
* pinch (or two) cayenne pepper
* pinch of salt, pepper
* 1/2 cup salsa (from the jar!)
* several shakes of hot sauce (optional)
* 1 16-oz. tube ready-made polenta
1. In a large frypan, saute bell pepper, onion, spices, and garlic (optional) in olive oil. When fairly well cooked, add salsa and hot sauce (optional) and stir.
2. Add beans to the pan, reduce heat to a simmer, and stir.
3. Remove polenta from packaging and cut into approximately 1/2-inch thick slices, making sure you have at least eight rounds of polenta when finished.
4. Brush both sides of polenta slices with olive oil and grill on pre-heated grillpan.
The goal is to cook long enough on both sides to leave grill marks on the polenta cakes.
5. When polenta cakes are “grilled”, place two on each person’s plate and ladle beans over them.
If you don’t have a grillpan, lightly brown polenta slices in a regular, pre-heated frypan. The grill marks look nice, but they aren’t absolutely necessary! If you like things a bit “saucy”, increase amount of salsa.