Grilled Polenta, Goat Cheese, and Tomato Stacks with Roasted Garlic Aioli and Herb Oil Drizzle


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Soft-Ripened Cheeses

* 2 large, ripe tomatoes, sliced into ¼”-thick slices
* 16-ounce tube of prepared polenta (store-bought), sliced into ¼” – ½” thick slices
* 8 ounces of Ile de France regular goat cheese
* 1 cup plus 3 teaspoons olive oil, divided plus extra for frying the goat cheese
* Salt and Pepper to taste
* 1 egg, beaten
* 1 cup seasoned breadcrumbs
* 1 tablespoon finely chopped, fresh basil
* 1 tablespoon finely chopped, fresh chives
* 1 cup mayonnaise
* 3 cloves garlic
* Juice of half a lemon


* Brush the polenta rounds lightly with olive oil on both sides. Heat a grill pan (skillet works fine too) over medium-high heat and grill the polenta rounds until grill marks appear on each side, about 3 - 4 minutes per side. Remove from the heat and set aside.

* Fill a frying pan with olive oil to a depth of 1 inch and set the heat to medium high. Slice the Ile de France goat cheese into ¼”- thick rounds and dredge first through the beaten egg and then through the breadcrumbs. Fry the goat cheese rounds in the hot oil until golden brown and crispy on each side, about 2 minutes per side (this goes fast!). Transfer to a paper towel to drain and season lightly with salt and pepper.

For the AIOLI:
* Preheat oven to 400 degrees F. Place the garlic cloves on a sheet of tin foil and cover with a teaspoon of olive oil. Wrap into a small bundle and roast in the oven for 25 – 30 minutes, or until the cloves are soft through the center. In a food processor, combine the mayo, roasted garlic cloves, and lemon juice. Grind until the ingredients are well incorporated and evenly mixed.

For the HERB OIL:
* Combine 1 cup olive oil, the chopped chives, and the chopped basil in a blender. Season with salt and pepper and blend until well-combined.

* To assemble the stacks, place a tomato slice on a plate and top with a generous layer of the aioli. Lay two each of the fried goat cheese and grilled polenta rounds on top of each tomato slice. Drizzle some of the herb oil around the plate and on top of the stacks and lay a couple whole chives down the center for garnish. Serve right away or refrigerate and serve. Makes about 4 servings. Enjoy!