Not your usual pizzas, these polenta rounds are based on a recipe from Bon Appétit magazine (October 2000). The brilliance of this recipe lies in the roasting of the tomatoes with a little sugar, which brings out their full flavor. This is a great side dish, or can be served as an appetizer / hors d'oeuvres. Gluten-free. Kosher: Dairy.
- 4 cups water
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1⁄2 teaspoon ground pepper (I prefer finely ground white pepper)
- 1 cup polenta (coarse cornmeal)
- 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
- 2 teaspoons dried oregano
- 8 large plum tomatoes, ends trimmed, each tomato cut crosswise into 3 slices
- 1⁄2 teaspoon sugar
- 4 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
- 3⁄4 cup kalamata olive, pitted and cut in half
- 1⁄2 cup freshly shredded parmesan cheese
- Line rimmed baking sheet (cookie sheet) with foil. Bring 4 cups water and 1 teaspoon salt to a boil in a heavy large saucepan. Slowly add polenta, whisking until smooth. Reduce heat to medium-low; cook about 30 minutes or until polenta thickens and pulls away from sides of pan, whisking frequently to remove any lumps.
- Stir in butter, pepper, and 1 teaspoon oregano, combine until smooth.
- Pour cooked polenta onto baking sheet and use spatula or butter knife to spread evenly. It should cover the sheet completely. Refrigerate until firm (at least 2 hours).
- While the polenta is cooling, preheat oven to 300°F Line another large baking sheet with parchment paper. Arrange tomato slices in single layer. Sprinkle tomatoes with 1/2 teaspoon sugar, then some salt. Drizzle with 2 tablespoons olive oil. Roast until tomatoes are tender but the slices still hold together, about 2 hours. Remove from oven and allow to cool. (Polenta and tomatoes can be made 1 day ahead and refrigerated).
- Preheat oven to 450°F.
- Line large baking sheet with parchment paper. Using 1 3/4- to 2-inch-diameter cookie cutter or juice glass, cut out approximately 24 rounds from polenta. Place rounds in a single layer on baking sheet. Place 1 tomato slice on each round and sprinkle rounds with remaining 1 teaspoon oregano. Top each with 2 or 3 olive halves. Drizzle with remaining 2 tablespoons oil, then sprinkle with Parmesan.
- Bake polenta pizzas until heated through and cheese melts (approximately 10 minutes). Serve warm.
Like to suggest baking the polenta and then cutting the rounds...it's NOT a regular size pizza which previous reviewer failed to note. 1 cup polenta to 4 cups chicken or vegetable stock or water, add salt if using water. Can add cheeses, green pepper, corn if not using for pizza or maybe you would like to...bake at 350 for about 1/2 hour or until firm. Use biscuit cutter or larger mouth jar cutters or whatever works...top and proceed.
The roasted tomatoes tasted wonderful! When I tried to spread the polenta onto the cookie sheet, it was much too thin (the dimensions of the pan would have helped). I decided to pour it into an 11x7 baking dish (I think a 8-9 inch pie plate would also work and be more pizza like!). Then topped and cooked it as directed and my family of three ate it for dinner as kind of a twist on regular pizza. If I were to make this again, I would just buy the polenta in a tube and slice it instead of going through all the trouble of cooking, cooling and cutting the polenta.
I had a bit of trouble with the polenta getting a lot of lumps so I threw that away and tried again. The second batch was had a few lumps but a lot better than the first. Slowly add the cornmeal to the boiling water and whisk very well before adding more. When it begins to thicken really get in there and wisk away to prevent further lumping. I loved the sweet flavor of the roasted tomatoes with the saltiness from the olives. I had some mozarella cheese so I sprinkled the pizzas with that and added some grated parmesan cheese. The polenta had a creamy nice texture that went along well with the other ingredients but for me I was looking for more flavor from the polenta. I used a larger glass to cut the rounds out and ended up with 12 larger pizza's instead of 24 smaller ones. Definitely use a good quality olive oil! I garnished with basil leaves, a very pretty dish to serve.