Food for Thought with Suzanne Dunaway

Spinach polenta (semoule)

One night recently we had lovely fresh sautéed spinach from the Capsie farm that sells its delightful produce in Collioure’s Faubourg. I order a half-kilo of this versatile healthy green, steam the leaves very quickly in a little salted water, run the leaves under very cold water for a second or two to keep the color, and drain it well. I then chop the cooked spinach, heat olive oil, add a little chopped garlic, a bit of nutmeg, and cook until the spinach is a little crisp around the edges.

We had some left over that night, and as I was stirring my polenta the next night to go with a rich  paleron stew for these last winter days, I stirred the leftover spinach into the polenta, put it in a little bread pan to cool outside before dinner, and then sliced it thick to sauté in olive oil to serve along with the stew.

These things happen daily in my kitchen. I see or find a leftover that was lurking in the fridge and immediately think, “Now that would be a good start to a curry, or vegetable tarte.” Such is the pattern of my cooking passion. And now I think of all the good leftovers that could make a polenta sing! Beet tops, cilantro, spring onion, there are endless possibilities.

Another tip: you do not have to stir polenta for more than a few minutes, just until it thickens. It will set up nicely on its own in a mold or dish to be sliced later. But it you wish it softer, add a bit more broth and stir well, then cover with a lid or foil to keep a crust from forming until serving time.



Serves 4


  • 2 cups bouillon or water and bouillon mixed
  • ¾ cup coarse ground semoule (corn meal)
  • 2 tablespoons parmesan
  • 1 tablespoon butter
  • Salt to taste



In a medium saucepan bring the liquid to a simmer and stir in the polenta slowly, stirring for the first few minutes until it thickens. You may add the leftover spinach or any cooked greens you like, chopped fine.

I just thought, crispy bacon would be nice on top of soft polenta also, along with fresh parsley, chopped tomatoes, just about anything you can think of. Have fun with polenta!

spinach polenta

Meet the chef

P-O Life reader, Suzanne Dunaway, has cooked since she was 5 years old, when she made cinnamon pinwheels from her mother’s pastry dough.

She LOVES to cook. Some might say she LIVES to cook. The smells, the tastes, the textures…

She is a firm believer in simplicity and creates her recipes in the ethos of ‘anyone can cook’.

After years of experience in her own kitchen, cooking schools and private classes all over the world, in this weekly blog, Suzanne shares with us her PO-inspired creations.

With many strings to her bow, she is also an artist and columnist, with two published cookbooks.

Get a copy of her ‘No Need to Knead: Handmade Artisan Breads in 90 Minutes’ here  

Or her 5 star rated book ‘Rome, at Home: The Spirit of La Cucina Romana in Your Own Kitchen’ here

All content and recipes are copyright of Suzanne Dunaway.


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