A classic ’70s hit turned up!
1 head garlic (cut down the middle)
olive oil (to drizzle)
CARROT POLENTA WITH SAUTÉED PEAS:
2 tablespoons olive oil (divided)
4 and 1/2 cups carrot juice
1/2 head roasted garlic (above)
10 tablespoons unsalted butter (divided)
1 cup polenta
1 cup cream cheese (cut into cubes)
3 cups spring peas (shelled, blanched)
1/4 cup tarragon (finely chopped)
pea tendrils (to serve)
Parmesan cheese (freshly grated, to serve)
For the Roasted Garlic: Preheat oven to 350ºF.
Place the garlic halves on top of aluminum foil, and drizzle with olive oil. Enclose the foil to create a packet. Bake until the cloves are golden brown and soft, about 40 minutes, and allow to cool. Remove from oven and when cool enough to handle, squeeze out half of garlic cloves and set aside. Reserve the rest for another use.
For the Carrot Polenta with Sautéed Peas: Brush a tube pan with a removable bottom with olive oil and set aside. In a medium saucepan over medium heat, add the carrot juice, 4 tablespoons of butter, garlic cloves, and bring to a gentle boil. Season with salt and pepper, and whisk in the polenta. Reduce heat to a simmer and cook, stirring constantly until polenta is hydrated and creamy, about 8-10 minutes. Remove from heat, add the cream cheese and whisk until cream cheese is completely melted. Add a drizzle of olive oil and whisk to combine seasoning with more salt if necessary.
While mixture is still warm, pour immediately into the prepared tube pan. Dip a rubber spatula in olive oil and smooth the top and edges of the polenta with the greased spatula. Loosely cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate until completely set, about 3 hours.
Preheat oven to 350ºF. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper and set aside. Once polenta is set, remove from refrigerator and unmold it from the tube pan, and transfer it to the prepared baking sheet. Bake for 30-40 minutes.
Fill a medium bowl with cold water and ice and set aside. Blanch the spring peas by placing them in a pot of boiling water for 1-2 minutes. Transfer to the ice bath and submerge to stop the cooking process. Transfer to a paper towel-lined plate and set aside.
Heat a large saute pan over medium-high heat with 6 tablespoons of butter. Add the blanched spring peas and season with salt and pepper. Cook until warmed through, about 3-5 minutes, and then stir in the tarragon. Remove from heat and set aside.
In a large bowl, add the pea tendrils and toss with remaining amount of olive oil. Season with salt and pepper and set aside.
Transfer the baked polenta ring to a platter and cut a ring in the center using a 5-inch biscuit cutter. Pour the pea and tarragon mixture into the center of the mold and top with pea tendrils and desired amount of Parmesan cheese to serve.
Tip: Crunched for time? Make the polenta ring a day or two ahead of time and store in the refrigerator, wrapped tightly in plastic, before baking.