1 cup polenta or coarse ground cornmeal
3 cups water or stock
1 teaspoon sea salt
2 tablespoons butter, divided
¼ cup Parmesan grated, plus more for garnish
1 pound fava beans, in their pod
1 bunch asparagus (optional), trim into ½-inch pieces and discard the bottoms
1 tablespoon butter
1 clove garlic, minced
sea salt and pepper to taste
- Combine the polenta, water, and salt in a medium saucepan. Bring to a boil over medium-high heat, stirring frequently, then turn down the heat to low. Simmer polenta, uncovered, stirring occasionally, until very thick and creamy, and tender, anywhere from 15-45 minutes (varies by grind). Add more water and cook longer if needed to achieve a creamy, tender consistency. When done, stir in 1 tablespoon butter, the Parmesan cheese, salt and freshly ground pepper to taste. Cover and set aside to keep warm.
- Meanwhile, bring a medium pot of water to a boil. While the water heats, remove the fava beans from their pods and discard the pods. When the water boils, add the fava beans and cook 1 minute. Using a slotted spoon, remove the fava beans to a small bowl and set aside. With the water boiling still, add the asparagus and cook for 1 minute. Drain into a colander and quickly rinse with cold water. Set aside.
- With a sharp knife, trim a little edge from each fava bean to create a small opening in the waxy coating. Gently pinch the fava bean out of the coating, into a small bowl.
- Melt the remaining butter in a medium skillet over medium heat. Add the garlic and cook 2-3 minutes, until fragrant and softened. Add fava beans and asparagus and stir, sprinkling lightly with salt, and cooking for 2-3 minutes, until heated through. Serve fava and asparagus over warm polenta. Top with a few grinds of pepper and a shower of Parmesan cheese.
- If you have leftover polenta, spread it into an 8-inch square pan and chill. Cut into squares and fry in oil or butter, and serve with a poached or scrambled egg for a fantastic breakfast or lunch.