Baked parmesan and tomato polenta

This is the first food post on the new blog location. Hopefully the first of many, though my track record with foodblogging isn’t amazing. :-)

I cook very much on a whim. This is reflected both in how I cook and in what I cook. It’s also reflected in what I buy. For example, I bought some polenta a few weeks ago. Why did I buy polenta? Three very good reasons.

Firstly, it was an appealing colour.

Secondly, there’s an amusing polenta scene in Heat.

Thirdly, I’d never tried polenta before.

As you can see, a well reasoned purchase decision.

I’ve made it a few times since, usually frying it in butter, and it’s ok. I cook it with a fair bit of salt, and it has a texture and taste that goes well with that. But for today’s lunch I tried doing it a different way. Here’s how it turned out.

For this I used polenta, salt, brown sugar, crushed chilli, butter, parmesan, pine nuts, ripeish tomatoes and balsamic vinegar. I won’t even pretend I measured proportions. :-)

It’s basically very easy. To make the polenta, boil twice its volume of salted water, add the polenta and stir until what you have is very thick and gloopy. Stir in a knob of butter and the chilli (I’d have used powdered paprika but didn’t have any) and leave to sit for about 10 minutes.

Then spread very thinly (somewhere under 1cm thick I guess) over the base of a greased baking sheet (I used a cookie tray), coarse grate parmesan on top of it and put it in the oven for 15 minutes at 150C.

What I did next was finely dice the tomatoes, mix them with pine nuts, balsamic vinegar and sugar, then pour them on top of the baking polenta, turn up the temperature slightly and then bake for another 15 minutes.

I’d probably do this differently in the future. It resulted in the polenta getting a bit too soggy. I would probably recommend instead roasting them separately at a higher temperature for 15 minutes, baking the polenta for more like 25 minutes on its own, then adding the roast tomato mix to the top of the polenta and baking for 5. That’s just a guess though.

Regardless, despite the slight sogginess of the polenta, this was really good and rather easy to make. I’d definitely make it again.

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