In a dream world, money grows from a branching tree somewhere in my expansive and flourishing vegetable garden. It comes out in hundred dollar bills and blooms year round. From that tree, I'd make dinner for people all the time. There would be a long wooden table with bench seats and I would get to watch people savor fresh foods and enjoy each other’s company. Lots of candles, mason jars, big white roses and lilies. I’d host brunch after church on Sundays, and kids would chase the chickens that laid the eggs we were eating. People would be real. We would talk about how we’re really doing and eat slow. Something I certainly need to practice before this fantasy plays out.

Bringing it back. This week I started cooking for a family and have a dinner party tomorrow. Intimidating, yes, but I think the flavors I have going on below are crowd pleasers. As mentioned, I like feeding people and Hugh likes being the test bunny (what?), so these side jobs are a pleasure. If you find yourself in a position of feeding a group of people, and I hope you do, this recipe is affordable, and can be easily doubled or tripled. The colors contrast beautifully with a crispy green salad.

My mom has always been good with plants, I'll be working on that tree.

Love by giving.

I used Pacific Cod as the fish, which is easier to find at a fish market than a grocery store. Remember that polenta expands like rice, so use a big pot for ample stirring.

3/4 Cup Polenta/Corn Meal
3 Cups Organic, Low Sodium Vegetable or Chicken Stock
1/2 Cup Good Quality Parmesan Cheese
1 Cup Organic Whole Milk
2 Ears of Corn
1 Large Yellow Onion, sliced thin
1 tbsp. Extra Virgin Olive Oil (divided)
Juice and zest of a Lemon
Handful of Fresh Chives, Chopped
Garlic Salt and Fresh Pepper

2 6oz. Pieces of Pacific Cod (or what is sustainable and available near you)
1/4 Cup Good Quality Feta Cheese
3 Tbsp. Cup Lowfat Greek Yogurt (sour cream or mayo work as well)
1/3 Cup Chopped Parsley, divided
1 Lemon, Sliced VERY Thin and a bit of juice
Fresh Pepper

Turn on the grill and oven to 475’.
1. Peel back the husk and silk of the corn, discard. Give it a little drizzle ½ tbsp. olive oil and a bit of garlic salt and put on the high heat of the grill. Continue to rotate, cook for ten minutes. Remove to cool. Cut the kernels off.
2. Heat the other ½ tbsp. olive oil. Add the sliced onion and sauté on medium until light brown in color, about 15 minutes. Turn off heat.
3. Prepare the fish topping. In a small bowl, mix the feta cheese, yogurt, garlic salt, lots of pepper, lil lemon juice and 2 tbsp of the chopped parsley. Mix.
4. Coat with cooking spray either a small baking dish or baking pan, put the fish skin side down.
5. Sprinkle fish with pepper and a pinch of salt. Divide the feta topping on top of both fish pieces and lay a few slices of lemon on top, slightly overlapping. Drizzle with a tiny bit of olive oil. Put in on the top rack of the oven and keep an eye on it while you proceed with the polenta. Fish should take about 12-15 minutes depending on thickness.
6. Continue with the polenta while fish is baking (if you read recipes prior, start heating the stock while prepping the fish). Bring the stock to a simmer. Slowly add in the milk. Pour in the polenta and continue to whisk until it begins to thicken, this should take about 15-20 minutes, you want it a bit thinner than mashed potatoes. Take off the heat. Gently fold in the caramelized onions, grilled corn kernels, juice of half a lemon, handful of chives and salt and pepper to taste. Lastly, fold in the 1/2 cup of feta cheese.
7. To serve, put a good portion of polenta on the plate, top it with the lemon fish and sprinkle with a generous amount of parsley.

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Reader Comments (31)

eat slow. love by giving. yes, that's what it's all about. and your dream world sounds like a place i'd very much like to visit. :)

August 28, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterJacqui

Ditto to all Jacqui said. Love this.

August 28, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterShannalee

beautiful! grilled corn sounds like a great way to savor the end of summer. can i be invited to your dream world?

August 28, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterAnna

Grilled corn polenta sounds amazing. Truly inspiring photos as usual.

August 28, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterWhitneyinchicago@gma

Grilled corn polenta - what a great way to make a sometimes-bland starch more interesting. I will give this a go.

August 28, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterHilary

oh, lord have mercy, that looks so good.

August 28, 2009 | Unregistered Commenterkristine

Polenta for me has always been the pre-cooked stuff from Trader Joe's... your version seems much more appealing.

Good luck with your dinner party-- have fun living out your fantasy for a night :)

August 28, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterSquill

I'll run to the store later in the week for a couple pieces of cod - this looks fantastic! A huge fan of polenta usually, I've been itching to bake some popovers. I think I'll borrow the polenta's flavor profile for a batch of those. Thanks for the inspiration!



August 28, 2009 | Unregistered Commenterheather

What a wonderful sentiment. I feel like I should print out that last line and hang it on my wall as a reminder.

And, as usual, your food looks amazing. I love the idea of grilling the corn - it's like polenta with a thousand exclamation points after.

August 28, 2009 | Unregistered Commentertara

What an amazing meal, so well rounded! I'll take one of your gardens that grows money. I too, would cook more meals for those I love. It does get quite pricey when cooking for a crowed eh! I love that this meal is on the affordable side. The GRILLED corn polenta, Im drooling over that. I'll be picking up corn at the farmers market tomorrow to make this! Thanks!

August 28, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterJen @ MaplenCornbread

That's absolutely what summer corn is supposed to look like. Ahhh! Also, I think I share your dream world fantasy. It would be so wonderful to be able to have my table be a space where tons of people continually come to feel comfortable and just enjoy themselves.

August 29, 2009 | Unregistered Commenterdragonfly pie

How beautifully, perfectly delicious.

I love your dream about the big long table.

August 29, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterThe Leftoverist

One perfect looking dinner with some very perfect images ~ from your words and camera both.

August 30, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterEmily

Yesterday, my family sat out on our covered dock at the lake and twisted wire holders onto mason jars. We filled them with pebbles and sand from the shoreline and lit our new glass lanterns. As we finished hanging them, a huge rainstorm fell on us and trapped us there for almost an hour. We felt like fireflies in our own little mason jar. And it felt so good.

I'm wishing you a green thumb for your dream world!

August 31, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterKim (@ Paper Apron)

My mouth is watering! I love fresh fish -Why am I in land-locked Iowa?!

August 31, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterJ.

this is such a perfect week-night cozy at-home dinner. i love the light, freshness of the fish with the rich, hearty, creamy polenta. i can't wait to make it (with some sort of personal touch, i imagine) and serve it up to my sweety the next time we're home for dinner together. i'm inspired!

August 31, 2009 | Unregistered Commenterlydja j.

Congrats Sara! I'm so excited for you and your new adventure. That is one beautiful plate. I'm sure this will be a successful venture for you.

August 31, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterDana

To me, soft polenta is the ultimate comfort food. I love cooking it with chicken stock and stirring in some gorgonzola at the end. Oh man, it's more transcendant than the best mac 'n cheese.

And I never would have thought to stir corn into polenta, but it's so deliciously obvious, sort of like chocolate chips in a brownie batter. Duh!

September 1, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterShauna from Piece of Cake

Looks soooo freakin' good! emailing this recipe to my wife! ;)

September 1, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterCameron Ingalls

This even tastes better than it looks!

September 1, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterJeannie

That's a lovely dish you have with grilled corn on polenta and a flavorful fish.

September 2, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterDivina

I like your vision. I could enjoy serving food at such a table or sitting at it! This meal sounds fantastic, and your grilled corn looks amazing.

September 2, 2009 | Unregistered Commenterlisaiscooking

Thrilled that I was mentioned in your writing as 'good with plants' its a start. Dad and I were happy to be the recipients of your cooking with this polenta in that lush bkyard last weekend; very much a crowd pleaser.

September 2, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterLinda (mom)

How exciting that you're cooking for a family. I do not see how this meal could earn anything but rave reviews. In your dream world, I hope that table is super long, because I'd love to drop by for a meal :-)

September 3, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterLisa's Cocina

I love your dream world, and do believe we can make it happen, minus the tree part. I'm not willing to let go of the dream... maybe someday we can work on it together. For now, I will be heading to the Feria (farmer's market) tomorrow morning looking for some fresh fish and good corn to share with my roommates.

September 4, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterKrysta

Amazing meal! Made this for my whole family and they LOVED it. My mother-in-law has to be gluten free and my father-in-law hates garlic and onions, which often means we are eating some pretty boring meals. But this one was perfect for all. I just scooped his polenta before adding the onions and chives. He loved it, phew! Thanks Sprouted Kitchen!

September 8, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterSuzanne

[...] i’m browsing LEMON FISH AND GRILLED CORN POLENTA | Sprouted Kitchenan ode to summer: blackberry sangriacheesecake-swirled brownies | smitten [...]

September 11, 2009 | Unregistered Commenterfives «

your photography is magazine-worthy

November 6, 2009 | Unregistered Commenteramelia

[...] ice cream sandwiches in individual packages of parchment and baker’s twine. Remember when I told you things like this were my dream? I love feeding people, and long tables, and laughing, and stringing [...]

[...] Grilled Corn Polenta and Lemon Fish from Sprouted Kitchen [...]

This is the most "restaurant quality" meal I have ever cooked. We actually sat at the table, ate slowly to enjoy every mouthful and stayed on at the table long after we'd finished our meal! So so so good!

I'm going to cook this again for my annual Spring Lunch for friends in a couple of weeks.

Thank you so much Sprouted Kitchen.

August 20, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterLia

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