Polenta And Lamb's Lettuce Hearts: A Valentine's Day Starter

If you're looking for a vegetarian appetizer to treat your Valentine, try our salad with polenta pucks and its pretty, loving visual! The polenta hearts served on a bed of lamb's lettuce are as beautiful as they are good. Here are the steps of the recipe in pictures.


Here are the ingredients needed to make polenta and lamb's lettuce hearts for 2 people:

100 g polenta
35 cl of semi-skimmed milk
35 cl of water
1 pinch of coarse salt
2 turns of pepper mill
1 pinch of nutmeg powder
100 g of lamb's lettuce
1 tray of cherry tomatoes
125 g ricotta cheese
2 tablespoons chopped basil
1 teaspoon of chopped garlic or garlic powder
half a lemon
olive oil
salt and pepper
a pinch of fleur de sel

Preparation of the polenta

To make the polenta hearts that adorn this Valentine's Day salad, start by cooking the polenta in a mixture of milk and water.

1- Pour the milk and water into a saucepan.

2- Add the coarse salt, pepper and nutmeg powder.

3- Bring this mixture to a boil.

Cooking the polenta

1- When the milk mixture boils, pour in the polenta.

2- Cook the polenta for 5 minutes, stirring constantly with a whisk to prevent the mixture from sticking to the pan and forming lumps.

To note: for this polenta hearts and lamb's lettuce recipe, I used quick-cooking polenta. It may take longer to cook if you use a different cornmeal, so follow the directions on the package.

Cutting the polenta hearts

In order to cut out the polenta hearts, you need to set this corn mush between two baking sheets. I recommend using two baking sheets or two cutting boards for example.

1- Lightly oil your two baking sheets with olive oil.

2- When the polenta is cooked, pour it onto one of the baking sheets so that it forms a rectangle about 1 cm thick.

3- Smooth the top with an angled spatula and place the second plate on top to get an even layer of polenta.

4- Let the polenta set for at least an hour or even overnight, if you can, before cutting out hearts with a cookie cutter.

To note: for an even more fun visual, I used two heart-shaped cookie cutters of different sizes.

Preparation of sauces

While the polenta is setting, you can move on to the next step in this recipe by preparing the sauces that will season the polenta hearts and the lamb's lettuce.

1- Start by preparing a kind of pesto by blending together in a small food processor the basil, garlic and 2 to 3 tablespoons of olive oil.

2- Divide this basil mixture between two bowls. You will use half of the basil to make a ricotta cream and the other half to make a dressing for the salad.

3- In the first bowl, mix the basil mixture with the ricotta, a pinch of salt and a grind of pepper. Reserve this cream in the refrigerator until you are ready to serve it on your plates.

4- In the second bowl, mix the basil with a pinch of salt, a turn of the pepper mill, a little lemon juice and a little water if necessary until you have a vinaigrette consistency. Set aside.

Cooking the polenta hearts

The trickiest step in the recipe is to brown the polenta hearts in a pan.

1- Heat a large skillet over high heat.

2- Lightly oil the pan with a paper towel soaked in olive oil.

3- Brown the polenta hearts, turning them gently after a few minutes.

Once the polenta hearts are nicely colored, all that's left to do is to arrange the lamb's lettuce salad on the plates.

Dressing the salad

For a more elegant visual, I recommend serving this Valentine's Day appetizer on a plate.

1- Gather all the ingredients: the previously washed lamb's lettuce and cherry tomatoes, the grilled polenta hearts, and the ricotta-based sauce and basil vinaigrette.

2- Place a handful of lamb's lettuce in the center of each plate and dress with a little basil vinaigrette.

3- Spread three grilled polenta hearts harmoniously over the salad and top each heart with a teaspoon of ricotta cream as in the photo below.

4- Cut the cherry tomatoes in half and add half a cherry tomato to each heart. Also add cherry tomatoes to the salad.

5- Before serving the polenta and lamb's lettuce hearts, adjust the seasoning by adding some basil vinaigrette and a pinch of fleur de sel to the plate.

Author: Audrey
Copyright image: Audrey Vautherot
Tags: polenta, lettuce, basil, salad, Pinch, Ricotta, cherry tomatoes, baking, Olive oil, water, vinaigrette, Cream, Milk, fleur de sel, heart, Cooking, Grilled, oil, Cookie, powder, Nutmeg, coarse salt, pepper mill, teaspoon, garlic, bowls, refrigerator, lemon juice, garlic powder, semi-skimmed milk, skillet, paper towel, pucks, sauce, vegetarian, cherry tomato, food processor, pesto, cutters, adorn, saucepan, boil, Cheese, 5 minutes, whisk, cornmeal, rectangle, Smooth, spatula, cutter,
In French: Les cœurs de polenta et mâche : une entrée de Saint-Valentin
En español: Polenta y corazones de canónigos: un entrante para San Valentín
In italiano: Cuori di polenta e lattuga d'agnello: un antipasto di San Valentino
Auf Deutsch: Polenta-Herzen mit Feldsalat: eine Vorspeise zum Valentinstag
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