This is a dish I used to cook a lot at Rockpool. I love the creamy, fine, porridge-like texture and taste of white polenta, but yellow polenta will do nicely, too. Fontina, meanwhile, adds a lift to the texture and flavour. Swap out ingredients to your liking. You could simply sauté mushrooms with garlic and serve atop the polenta – or use crab instead of prawns or slices of young, tender zucchini in place of the artichokes.
6 raw, large king prawns, peeled and deveined
4 large globe artichokes
1 lemon, halved and juiced
100g white polenta
80g fontina or taleggio cheese, freshly grated (see tip)
50g parmesan, freshly grated
50g unsalted butter
⅓ cup extra virgin olive oil
1 garlic clove, finely chopped
1. Chop the prawns into 0.5cm dice, then set aside. To prepare the artichokes, fill a large bowl with water and squeeze in half of the lemon juice. Working with one artichoke at a time, trim the stem to 3cm. Cut 2cm from the top of the artichoke. Peel away and discard the tough outer leaves to expose the pale yellow-green leaves. Peel the tough outer layer from the stem. Cut in half lengthways and remove the furry choke. Place the artichoke halves in the bowl of water and leave until ready to cook.
2. Drain the artichokes. Place in a saucepan of salted water and bring to the boil, then reduce the heat to a simmer and cook until tender – for about 20-25 minutes – when pierced with a skewer. Drain and set aside.
3. Fill a large saucepan with 600ml water, add salt and bring to the boil over high heat. Pour in the polenta and cook, stirring with a whisk, for 2 minutes. Reduce the heat to low and cook, stirring occasionally with a wooden spoon, for 50 minutes or until smooth. Stir in the fontina, parmesan and butter. Remove from the heat and keep warm.
4. When the polenta is nearly ready, heat the olive oil in a frying-pan over medium-high heat. Add artichokes and cook until browned (about 5 minutes). Introduce the chopped prawn and garlic and cook for 1 minute or until the prawn meat is cooked through. Season to taste with the remaining lemon juice, salt and pepper. To serve, spoon the polenta onto plates and top with the artichoke and prawn mixture.
Tip: to grate any semi-soft cheese, freeze for 15 minutes first.
Find more of Neil Perry's recipes in the Good Food New Classics cookbook.