That’s polenta, that’s grits, that’s like a veggie pizza… let me introduce you la gritzza !
Rachael of pizzarossa was our August 2012 Daring Cook hostess and she challenged us to broaden our knowledge of cornmeal! Rachael provided us with some amazing recipes and encouraged us to hunt down other cornmeal recipes that we’d never tried before – opening our eyes to literally 100s of cuisines and 1000s of new-to-us recipes!
So I’ve made a tart with polenta/grits as a crust, with a grilled garlic tomato sauce and poached green Summer veggies. Served at room temperature, that’s a delicious holiday dish.
I cooked the cornmeal with only water in the microwave, it’s easier. Then, I’ve added spices, olive oil. Put in the mold. Let cool, paint with more oil.
Roast it in the grill of the oven. I’ve put some garlic with it :
The sauce is tomato paste, salt, pepper, chili flakes and the minced roast garlic. I broiled it a bit again.
I’ve boiled briefly the veggies and refreshed in iced water to keep the nice color.
I’ve just put veggies on top.
That was mmm….. Fresh, flavorful and filling.
Cold Roasted Vegetable & Mozzarella Tart with a Cornmeal Base
Recipe by: Rachael Thew
Time: 30 minutes total for cornmeal, 50 minutes total for vegetables, plus cooling time – a lot can be done simultaneously, but allow a good couple of hours total
Equipment: Measuring cup and spoons, saucepan, baking dish, pie dish
1/2 cup (120 ml) (85 gm) (3 oz) medium-grind cornmeal
1 2/3 cups (400 ml) milk or water, or a combination of milk and water, or stock
1/2 teaspoon (3 gm) salt
2 tablespoon (30 ml) (30 gm) (1 oz) butter or oil
1/4 cup (30 gm) (1 oz) finely grated Parmesan cheese (optional)
1 medium zucchini (courgette)
1 small eggplant (aubergine)
1 red- and 1 yellow pepper (capsicum)
3½ cups (250 gm) (9 oz) mushrooms
2 cups (250 gm) (9 oz) small grape/cherry tomatoes
2 tablespoon (30 ml) olive oil
salt and pepper
1½ cups (200 gm) (7 oz) bocconcini (small mozzarella balls), halved
1/4 cup (60 ml) (15 gm) (½ oz) chopped fresh basil
1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar
Preheat oven to hot 425°F/220°C/gas mark 7. Trim the zucchini, eggplant and peppers, halve or cut in thirds depending on size and cut into in wide strips, de-stem and thickly slice the mushrooms and halve the tomatoes. Pile them into a roasting dish, drizzle with olive oil and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Toss so everything is coated.
Roast in hot oven for 40 minutes, until tender and starting to brown. Set aside to cool.
Meanwhile, put the milk/water or stock in a medium saucepan and bring to a simmer on medium heat. When it starts simmering, add the salt then slowly stir in the cornmeal. Cook on low heat, stirring frequently, for 20 minutes.
When it’s smooth and creamy, stir in the butter/oil and the Parmesan, if using.
Use damp fingers or a non-stick spatula to press polenta/cornmeal into an oiled pie dish and set aside to cool and set, about half an hour. When ready, put under the broiler (oven grill) for 5 minutes to brown. Set aside to cool again.
Drain any liquid from the cooled vegetables (reserve it for another use). Toss the filling ingredients together then pile them into the “pastry”. Chill if desired, or serve at room temperature.
Variations: Use jarred vegetables (e.g. artichokes), sun-dried tomatoes or other herbs. If you use fine or course cornmeal/polenta you may need to adjust the liquid as well as the cooking time – check the packet.