Savory Strawberries? Chef Jeremy Fox Makes Strawberry With Polenta Sofrito

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Chef Jeremy Fox of Rustic Canyon and former chef de cuisine at Manresa, shows David Kinch how to take a very traditional dish and bring it to an innovative yet familiar place. Jeremy's fascination with peasant food brought on the creation of this dish. It's not fancy and that's just what he likes about it. He uses strawberries to make a kind of very intense tomato sauce that ultimately becomes the main component of the sofrito. To olive oil, he adds onions and fennel and untoasted pine nuts. Then the strawberries are added and looked low and slow for three hours. And then the sofrito meets the polenta. This dish is perfect for breakfast, lunch, or dinner.  Or dessert.
RECIPE FOR POLENTA, CURDS, WHEY, & STRAWBERRY SOFRITO
 
Sofrito
2# strawberries, washed & hulled
1 pint brunoise white onion
1 pint brunoise fennel
1 cup pine nuts, untoasted
1 cup extra virgin olive oil
 
-on low heat, cook onions & pine nuts in the olive oil with a pinch of salt for about 2 hours
-add fennel and cook for another hour
-mash strawberries with your hands and add to the pot, cook another 2 hours
-when the sofrito is jammy & caramelized, it is ready
-adjust with salt
 
Ricotta
2qt whole milk
2c buttermilk
1c cream
 
-combine all dairy in a pot
-cook on medium heat until it reaches a simmer and begins to separate
-reduce heat to medium low, cook until the curds completely separate from the whey
-transfer to a container and let curds cool in the whey
-drain gently through cheesecloth
 
Polenta
2 cup polenta
4 cup whey
1 cup heavy cream
3T butter
.5 cup micro-planed parmesan
 
-bring whey to a boil
-whisk in the polenta and cook on low-medium heat for about 20 minutes
-add cream and cook an additional 15 minutes
-turn off heat, and slowly fold in the butter and parmesan
-salt to taste
 
To serve
-spoon hot polenta into a bowl
-add quenelles of hot sofrito and tempered ricotta
-finish ricotta with flake salt
 -add basil leaves