Polenta with Roasted Sunflower seeds

DSCF5513Polenta is a traditional Italian dish with countless variations.  This variation evolved over several summers at Polli Talu.  The roasted sunflower seeds and golden sautéed onions lend it a richness and the raisins add a sweetness that are hard to resist.
Serves 4 to 6

½ cup (120 ml) sunflower seeds
3  cups (720 ml) water
3  pinches salt
1  cup (240 ml) polenta (corn grits)
1  medium onion, minced
2  tablespoons olive oil
salt and pepper
½ cup (120 ml) raisins

1 Preheat the oven to 450°F (225°C).
2 Spread the sunflower seeds on a cookie sheet and roast until slightly brown, about 5 minutes. Be careful not to burn them—once you smell the aroma, they are most likely done.
3 Bring the water to a boil and add the salt. Pour the polenta into the water gradually while stirring constantly.  Stir until the mixture becomes a unified mass.
4 Reduce the heat to its lowest setting and simmer, covered, for 15 minutes, stirring occasionally.
5 In a separate pan, sauté the onion in the oil until golden. Add salt and pepper to taste.
6 Add the sauté, sunflower seeds, and raisins to the polenta and mix well.
7 Pour the polenta into an oiled 8 x 12-inch (20 x 30-cm) baking dish and bake for 20 minutes.

Serve with vegetables and parsley dressing

Note: Cut any leftover polenta into thick slices and fry the next morning for a delicious breakfast.