From: Chef Scott Samuel, CIA Greystone. Yield: 12 pieces.
½ cup olive oil
1 cup white onion
1 cup red bell pepper, cored and diced
1 cup green bell pepper, cored and diced
1 cup red seedless California grapes, quartered
¼ cup black seedless California grapes, halved for garnish
½ tsp. kosher salt
pinch of cayenne pepper
1 Tbsp. butter, for greasing dish
3 cups milk
1 bay leaf
1 jalapeno, roasted, stemmed, seeded and minced
1 cup polenta
½ cup Parmesan, finely grated
½ tsp. kosher salt
¼ cup mascarpone
For the grape sofrito: In a small heavy-duty sauce pan over medium heat, combine the olive oil, onions and both peppers. Stir to combine, add a pinch of salt and cook slowly for about 30 to 40 minutes, stirring occasionally and making sure the vegetables don’t get any color; turn the heat lower if you start to get dark spots on the pan.
When mixture is very soft and flavorful, remove from the heat and add 1 cup of the rinsed and quartered red grapes. Stir to combine and cook for another 3 to 4 minutes, just to combine the flavors and soften the grapes. Season with salt and remove from heat.
For polenta: Butter a 9”x9” baking dish for cooling the fnished polenta. In a small saucepot, combine the milk, bay leaf and minced roasted jalapeno and bring to a simmer. Cook on low for about 5 minutes; add the polenta in a slow stream while stirring the milk slowly. Stir with a wooden spoon occasionally until the mixture becomes thick and the grain has absorbed all of the milk, about 30 minutes. Pour into the prepared dish and smooth out the top of the warm polenta; chill for 2 hours. Cut into 1” circles and set aside for grilling.
Preheat a grill pan over medium-high heat. Cook the polenta bites on the hot grill pan for 4 minutes per side, making sure to get nice grill marks and good color.
To serve: Place 3 grilled polenta bites on a small plate and top with 1 Tbsp. of the warm grape sofrito. Add a small dollop of mascarpone and then a grape half. Serve warm or at room temperature.