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.