One of the things I really like about blogging is interacting with people who share my interest in and passion for food. I follow many food blogs to gain inspiration and to learn from other cooks and bakers. For example, the idea of combining polenta and tomatoes came from a fellow blogger, Lizzy, who shared with me her recipe for soft polenta and tomatoes. I would have never thought of that pairing on my own. Polenta, which is made from ground corn, is a very versatile ingredient. It can be served soft, like a porridge, or firm, usually cut into slices. Polenta can be served plain or with added ingredients like herbs and cheeses. I recently discovered that it could also be used to make crusts for tarts. I ran across this recipe for polenta tart with goat cheese and tomatoes from the Whole Foods Market website and I knew that this would be perfect with slow roasted tomatoes.
First of all, preparing polenta gives your arm a good workout because of the constant stirring needed while it cooks. However, as a trade off, there is no kneading or rolling required. The polenta crust had a slightly toasted nutty flavor. It is a healthier alternative to traditional pastry crusts, and it is also naturally gluten-free. I only had the stone-ground polenta so the crust had a little more grainy texture, yet it was also crispy. While the crust had a more neutral flavor, the tartness of the goat cheese went very well with the sweetness of slow roasted tomatoes and the sweet pungency of the basil garnish. Chris proclaimed that this dish is one of his new favorites. I hope you enjoy it as well!
Polenta Tart with Goat Cheese and Slow Roasted Tomatoes
Adapted from a recipe found in WholeFoodsMarket.com
Yields 4 individual servings
4 ounces goat cheese, softened
2 tablespoons chopped basil
1 1/2 cups finely ground dry polenta (cornmeal)
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon garlic powder
3 cups vegetable stock or cold water
1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese
2 cups slow roasted tomatoes steeped in olive oil (click here for recipe)
1/4 cup loosely packed chopped fresh basil leaves
1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil from the slow roasted tomatoes
Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Oil 4 individual-sized tart pans with removable base with olive oil cooking spray and set aside.
Combine goat cheese and 2 tablespoons chopped basil. Set aside.
Combine polenta, salt, and garlic powder with vegetable stock or water in a sauce pan. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat to a simmer, stirring constantly for 5 minutes. Stir in the grated parmesan cheese and continue to cook for another 3 to 5 minutes. Cool polenta slightly and then transfer to prepared tart pans. Spread polenta evenly over bottom and up the sides of the pans. Bake until dry and crisp on edges, about 25-30 minutes.
Remove from oven and spread a thin layer of goat cheese/basil mixture over crust. Divide evenly and arrange roasted tomatoes on top of the cheese. Return to oven for 5 to 10 minutes longer, until the goat cheese and tomatoes are heated through. Before serving, remove the sides from the tart pan and garnish the top with remaining basil and a drizzle of garlic-infused olive oil leftover from the slow roasted tomatoes.
Adapted from a recipe from WholeFoods.com
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To second the opinion of another comment – this is genius! I must try it, the polenta crust looks awesome! Does it come off the sides of a dish easily, by the way?
Yes, the polenta crust came off the sides of the tart pans fairly easily. Not a broken or cracked one in my batch of 6 tarts.
Right, I must make it then! Did you grease/flour them, or?
My tart pans are non-stick, but sprayed them with a little olive oil cooking spray anyway.
Thanks for the answers, and I am looking forward to an occasion to try this. It’s gorgeous!
Thanks, especially coming from an amazing photographer like you!
DUDE. This is the FREAKIN COOLEST THING I have seen in a long time!!!!!! Absolutely genius!!!!!!!!!!!! I will definitely try this!
Hehehe! (Hey, I just stole that from you!) It was a great recipe find! I hope you like it as much as I did.
I just made polenta the other night and served with a tomato dish and loved it. So, now I can’t wait to try out this recipe. I love the idea of making a polenta crust. What an elegant looking dish to serve at a dinner party.
I hope you like the tart as much as I did. It’s easy and elegant…great for a dinner party.
Juls and Megan (Scholasticfood), visual appeal is important since we eat with our eyes first so I think I’ve succeeded with this dish since the colors and the presentation attracted you.
Sara, goat cheese goes with so many things, doesn’t it?
TLT – Thanks. The polenta crust is new to me and so good!
These tarts looks just amazing!!!! I love reading other blogs for inspiration too, like this one, and these tarts, I’m feeling inspired 🙂
Your blog is awesome! You had me with your chocolate covered cheesecake.
I often make something similar, but have never thought of putitng it into a crust form. So gorgeous, thanks for your suggestion!
Oooooh, this sounds so good! Love goat cheese with tomatoes, and this recipe sounds like a perfect way to combine them! 🙂
This looks so delicious. Every single ingredient in this recipe is delicious and combining them can only lead to something wonderful. I love the bright colors in your photo!
I love the flavours you’ve used here and the colours of the polenta and the tomatoes together have made something really beautiful!
I can see that the longer I hang out reading your blog, the longer my shopping list will get… Dangerous…
I just checked out your blog and your photos are so beautiful. I could inspire you to cook, and you’ve definitely inspired me to take more photos. I love your posts where you explain the anatomy of a photo. I’m an amateur photographer and I have so much to learn.
Thanks for the link! Looks awesome.
This is beautiful. What a photo! I’ve never made a polenta crust before, but it won’t be long now.
It’s certainly different, but very good! Let me know how it turns out if and when you make it.