Grilled Polenta With Wilted Summer Salad

Polenta in a tube is incredible. Sure, you could boil your own batch, spread it out on a pan, bake it, let it cool and punch out individual slices (that occasionally still fall apart) ... or you could pop open a roll of premade, ultra-dense, firm, bone-dry polenta that's just screaming to be olive-oiled, seared or grilled and topped with something delicious, like a farmers' market salad. I used red spring onions, radishes so fresh they still had wet dirt clinging to their roots and zingy local baby arugula, but feel free to sub in anything in its seasonal prime, like pea shoots or purslane.

Why wilt the salad? You can fit more of it on a crispy grilled polenta round, and it will actually stay there, making for a simple, beautiful presentation and a hearty lunch or first course. Dress the salad in a large steel bowl, and when the polenta comes off the grill, place the bowl directly on the grates and close the lid for a few minutes, which will infuse the salad with a quick hit of smoky goodness that ties the whole dish together.

Grilled Polenta With Wilted Summer Salad
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to 8
  • 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil (Spanish arbequina pairs really well with oil-packed tuna)
  • 1 teaspoon Dijon or whole-grain mustard (whichever you prefer)
  • 1 tablespoon freshly squeezed lemon juice, plus 1/2 teaspoon zest
  • 1 anchovy fillet
  • 1 teaspoon Pecorino Romano
  • Kosher salt and coarsely ground black pepper to taste
  • 1 18-ounce tube cooked polenta
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • kosher salt
  • 3 large handfuls arugula
  • 1/2 red onion (or 2 red spring onions)
  • 4 radishes
  • 3 ounces oil-packed tuna fillet
  • 1 teaspoon capers
  1. :::dressing:::
  2. Blend all dressing ingredients together using a small food processor or immersion blender. Cover and refrigerate until ready to dress the salad.
  3. :::polenta:::
  4. Preheat grill. Brush polenta rounds with olive oil and sprinkle with kosher salt.
  5. Grill on high heat on each side 5-7 minutes, or until lightly charred and crisp.
  6. :::salad:::
  7. While the polenta is grilling, mix together salad ingredients in a large stainless steel bowl.
  8. Toss with a couple of tablespoons of dressing (the rest will keep in the fridge for up to a week) and set aside until polenta is finished.
  9. Take polenta off the grill and transfer to plates or a platter. Place the salad bowl directly on grates (put down a sheet of foil first if it's a bowl you care about), cover and let wilt for 2 minutes.
  10. Divide the salad evenly between the polenta rounds, then place a large chunk of tuna fillet on top of each and serve immediately.
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