My favorite nearby pizzeria often serves arugula pizza with toppings like prosciutto or buffalo mozzarella … yum. While searching for it on Google once, I stumbled upon something that was called “rocket pizza” … I was surprised to find out it is the same thing. I decided that to me, everything arugula is now called “rocket”. I’d rather be eating “rocket” than “arugula” any day. This rocket challenge seemed fun, and it was just begging me to create a stacked meal. Layered dishes look pretty and are just dang fun to eat.
Polenta is one of those things that makes me wish that I had an Italian grandmother. Other foods like this: risotto, gnocchi, meatballs and gravy. Don’t get me wrong: I wouldn’t trade my grandmother’s matzoh ball soup for anything. And my other grandmother made the best gefilte fish anywhere, according to my dad. But there are some things that I can imagine childhood memories being made of… and the smells of Italian yum in the kitchen must be one of them.
In the absence of an Italian grandmother, I whipped up some polenta with quick-cook corn meal. I eat the stuff all the time, usually when by myself and craving something homey and extra-fast. Oh, and with some butter and cheddar cheese mixed in. Yum. Technically, polenta is NOT something to be prepared quickly, but yeah, my imaginary Nonna was not there to smack me with a spoon and tell me how to make it right. So I cheated and used the quick stuff. I didn’t use the prepared logs from the supermarket, so there’s that. I added parmesan cheese to the cornmeal, but it can definitely be made without it.
The dressing came together really well. To me, it was pineapply and citrusy and flavorful. The husband, on the other hand, was pretty confused by it. He couldn’t figure out what it tasted like (but everyone else tasted the pineapple in it).
I threw in the pineapple pieces into the sausage patties on a whim. It tasted great! I should have grilled the sausage patties AND the polenta. It was a gorgeous day today but I was lazy I guess and didn’t bother turning on the grill. Should have had the husband do it. Or my fake Nonna.
The dish looked so pretty all stacked up. Everyone was impressed. The boy ate the whole thing, and he doesn’t often eat greens. He was so inspired, he decided to play along and make his own battle dish based upon Hawaiian pizza. The girl liked her stack, but unfortunately she had a big lunch and wasn’t very hungry. The husband, still confused by the dressing, didn’t like it under the polenta, but really enjoyed it on the rocket salad. Personally, I loved the whole towering rocket, and had two servings.
Pineapple Sausage Stacks with Polenta and Rocket Salad
- 1/2 cup fresh pineapple juice
- 1 Tbsp orange juice
- 2 Tbsp apple cider vinegar
- 1 handful cilantro
- 1/4 tsp minced chili pepper (or more to taste)
- 1/4 tsp minced garlic
- 1/2 tsp kosher salt
- 1/3 cup canola oil
For the polenta (or use pre-made if desired):
- 3 cups water
- 1 cup quick-cook polenta corn meal
- 1 Tbsp kosher salt
- 1 Tbsp fresh thyme leaves
- 1/3 cup grated parmesan cheese
- 1 Tbsp olive oil
For the sausage patties:
- 4 chicken sausage links
- 1/4 cup crushed fresh pineapple chunks, drained
- 1 Tbsp olive oil
For the salad:
- 2 cups rocket (arugula)
- Pour one cup of water into a saucepan with the corn meal. Heat to bubbling. Stir until thick and all liquid is absorbed. Add another cup of water. Stir again, scraping bottom, and heat until all liquid is absorbed again. Add a third cup of water, adding as much as necessary while stirring to reach desired consistency: thick and creamy. Stir in the thyme, salt and parmesan cheese; stir some more. Let cool.
- Combine all of the dressing ingredients except the canola oil in a food processor. While the processor is running, slowly drizzle in the canola oil so it combines well. Put dressing aside.
- Remove sausage from casings. Drain as much liquid as possible out of the crushed pineapple. Combine sausage meat with crushed pineapple and form into patties. Pan-fry on both sides in 1 Tbsp of oil.
- Form the polenta into patties. If desired, cut them in circles using a 3" ring mold. Pan-fry on both sides in 1 Tbsp of oil (in the same pan with the sausage drippings).
- Toss the rocket leaves with 3 Tbsp of the dressing.
- Pour 1 Tbsp of the dressing on each plate, and spread into a circle larger than 3". Put down a polenta layer, then sausage, and top with some rocket.