This past weekend my sister-in-law, her hubs & my sweet little niece came over for a visit. I channeled my inner mother, went out on a limb & tried a new recipe that I had never tried to serve our guests. I tried this recipe for polenta squares with sun-dried tomato & walnut tapenade.
I think it came out pretty tasty, although now looking back at my photos & the photo they show on food52.com, my polenta squares look a little thin (note to self: next time I’ll make them a bit thicker). I have to admit I was a bit spastic at making my squares or rectangles as I now see that’s really what shape they were. I’ll note where I spazed out in the directions in hopes you'll learn from my mistakes.
PS: happy birthday to my cool-little-dude nephew, Chris! I love you!
Polenta Party Square Ingredients (recipe by Gena Hamshaw via food52.com)
- 6 cups vegetable broth (low sodium if possible)
- 2 cups polenta (yellow cornmeal)- I used quick cooking polenta to save time
- 1 teaspoon sea salt
- Black pepper, to taste
- 1 1/2 teaspoon dried thyme
- 1 batch sun-dried tomato and walnut tapenade
- Bring the polenta, salt, & broth to a boil over high heat.
- Reduce to a simmer.
- Using a long wooden spoon, continually stir the polenta until it has thickened (approximately 25-30 minutes). If you’re using quick cooking polenta this will happen rather quickly, in about 5-10 minutes! (win!!!)
- When the mixture is very thick & is pulling away from the sides of the pot, stir in the pepper and thyme.
- Oil a 15.25 x 10.25 baking sheet (or line with parchment paper).
- Spread the polenta mixture evenly over the sheet with an inverted knife.
- It should be about as thick as the edge of the pan itself.
- Allow it to cool, and then transfer to the fridge for a few hours.
- Preheat your broiler. Cut the polenta into squares (you should get about 22). This is the point where I spazed out. I simply cut mine in the pan so I’m not sure why the directions read to put them back in the pan, but then I had spastic moments that followed so maybe I should’ve taken them out & put them back in…
- Return them to a baking sheet and brush lightly with olive oil.
- Place under a broiler for 8 minutes, or until they're lightly toasted. This took much longer in my broiler for some reason. Then I tried to move them right when they came out of the oven - don’t do this. Let them cool slightly. I also opted to flip mine, brush the other side with olive oil & stuck them back under the broiler to brown. Be careful, I’m not sure why, maybe my thickness was uneven or the middle was just closer to the broiler, but the middle almost burned!
- You can alternately bake them at 375 for twenty-five minutes or so. Perhaps I’ll bake them next time.
- Top each square with a tablespoon of tapenade, & serve.
- 3/4 cups sun-dried tomatoes (not oil soaked)
- 2 cups water
- 2/3 cups walnuts
- 2 small cloves garlic
- 2 tablespoons lemon juice
- 1/2 teaspoon sea salt
- Black pepper, to taste
- 1 tablespoon fresh rosemary
- 1/3 cup extra virgin olive oil
- Boil the water & pour it over the tomatoes.
- Allow them to soften for 20 minutes.
- Discard most of the water (keep a half cup in case you need to thin the tapenade).
- Grind the walnuts in a food processor fitted with the S blade until they're finely ground.
- Add the tomatoes & garlic, & pulse to combine. Add the lemon, sea salt, pepper, and rosemary.
- Run the motor of the food processor and drizzle in the oil in a thin stream.
- If the mixture is still very thick, drizzle in some of the soak water from the tomatoes until it reaches the desired consistency. You're aiming for the consistency of regular tapenade, or a thick pesto.