Cuscuz Paulista da Dona Angelina
One tube pan with capacity for 10 cups
1/3 cup extra virgin olive oil
1 large onion, chopped (about 1 cup)
4 scallions (white and green parts), chopped (save some for garnish)
4 garlic cloves, chopped
1 cup frozen peas, thawed
1 can (15 ¼ oz, 432g) corn
1 can (15oz, 425g) tomato sauce
2 cups polenta
1/4 cup chopped fresh parsley
4 hard-boiled eggs, 2 sliced and 2 roughly chopped
8.5 oz sardines packed in oil (from two cans, each with 4 3/8 oz, 125 g), scaled and bones removed
Freshly ground pepper
Freshly grated nutmeg
1. Brush the bottom and sides of the tube pan with olive oil. Garnish the bottom of the pan with thin slices of hard-boiled eggs and scallions and set aside.
2. In a medium size Dutch-oven, warm the olive oil over medium-low heat. Add the onions, scallions, and small pinch of salt, and cook slowly, stirring regularly. Don’t let the onions turn dark, they should “sweat” their moisture becoming tender and translucent, about 6-8 minutes. Add the garlic and cook for another minute.
3. Add the corn and peas and stir with a wooden spoon, cooking gently until everything gets hot, about 2 minutes.
4. Add the tomato sauce and simmer gently for 3 minutes.
5. In a bowl, place the polenta and pour 3 ½ cups of tap water; stir roughly with a wooden spoon. Pour the “wet” polenta in one stroke into the corn-pea mixture and cook, stirring until the polenta starts absorbing some of the liquid, about 5 minutes. You don’t want the mixture to be too wet or too dry, but it should be pasty and sticky. Season with salt, pepper, and freshly grated nutmeg.
6. Add the parsley, chopped egg, and sardines. Stir everything gently, being careful not to shred the fish.
7. While still hot, carefully spoon the mixture into the prepared pan and smooth the top with an off-set spatula. If you have a little extra mixture, you can use an individual ramekin greased with oil to save the extras (or nibble, like I do). Let the mixture cool at room temperature for 20 minutes then chill overnight.
8. Remove the cuzcus from the fridge at least 30 minutes before serving. Run a knife around the edges and invert the mold onto a platter. Lift the mold. Serve at room temperature with a green salad on the side.