This family staple normally starts to appear on our dining table from autumn onwards. I recall vividly and with great affection the dinner parties my parents would host where Polenta would be the star attraction. The smooth mountain of polenta was always served on a large round wooden board called a Spianatora and would often be accompanied with Rabbit or Cotechino and Turnip Ragu.
As young kids we would watch and gasp in horror as the adults ate their Polenta with their adult styled Ragu; while us kids would scream out “we are polentoni” or polenta eaters as we greedily devoured the slabs of polenta smothered in a more kid friendly alternative of Tomato Salsa and Mozzarella cheese.
Reciprocating days gone by, I decided to create a small finger food version of the polenta dinners my parents would make.
These Polenta Cakes are the ideal entertaining food which can be prepared in advance allowing you to spend quality time with family and friends. Once the polenta is made, simply place under a grill to warm through for 5 minutes and top with the spicy vegetable salsa.
Ingredients Making the Polenta Cakes 1 Cup Organic Polenta
3 Cups Water
Making the Spicy Vegetable Salsa 2 Cups Diced Tomatoes
200ml Tomato Salsa ½ Cup Diced Mushrooms
½ Cup Diced Zucchini
2 Teaspoons Oregano
1 ½ Teaspoon Chilli
1 Tablespoon Extra Virgin Olive Oil
1 Handful Basil Leaves
Salt and Pepper to taste
Basil leaves to garnish
Parmesan Cheese to garnish (optional)
Method Making the Polenta
Grease a saucepan with a little coconut oil to prevent the polenta from sticking.
Add the water to the saucepan and bring to the boil. Add the polenta and stir continuously for 5 minutes.
Bring water to the boil and add the polenta stirring continuously for 5 minutes.
Reduce to a low heat and simmer the polenta for 5 minutes occasionally stirring the polenta so it doesn’t stick to the saucepan.
Polenta is ready when it's thick and sticks to the wooden stirring spoon.
Remove from heat and scoop the polenta from the saucepan onto a wooden board. Flatten the polenta into a 1cm layer. Place into the refrigerator to cool for 20 minutes.
Flatten polenta into a 1cm layer on a wooden board and place in the refrigerator to cool.
While the polenta is chilling, prepare the spicy vegetable salsa.
Making the Spicy Vegetable Salsa
In a small saucepan heat a tablespoon of extra virgin olive oil.
When oil is hot add the oregano, chilli and basil and sauté for a minute before adding the diced tomatoes.
Sauté the tomatoes until all the natural liquid has been reduced and tomatoes have softened.
Add the diced mushrooms and zucchini and cook all vegetables until soft.