Polenta with Parmesan and Parsley, Mozzarella and Tomato
I haven’t made polenta in some time now. A friend of mine recently asked me if I had a recipe – which I did. But because this friend is super special to me and one of my BIGGEST supporters, not only of The Lovely Pantry, but of me as a person… I wanted to do something nice and a little different. A delicate dish that was smooth, flavourful and good for the body. I think I’ve accomplished that with this recipe and presentation.
In Jamaica, the term “Polenta” is rarely used however, I believe Jamaicans are becoming more aware of the term. Polenta is quite like a dish we call Turn Cornmeal or “Tun Cornmeal” – which is a dish of a similar consistency but includes ingredients such as coconut milk, escallion, garlic, thyme and of course, scotch bonnet pepper. Just like Polenta, Turn cornmeal can be served in a variety of ways and with different meats or sauces. Personally, I don’t like my Polenta mushy. I prefer it crispy on the outside and soft but firm on the inside.
Todays dish is meat free and fabulous. I hope to make more dishes like this. I believe this could be a snack, a breakfast or an appetizer. What do you think?
This is basically how I make my polenta but you can certainly make variations. If you don’t have parsley, chop some spinach or kale. Add some sweet corn. Get creative! I have made polenta using water and I’ll never do that again – too bland. I will always add a broth because I find it to be more flavourful that way. I decided to dress up my polenta with mozzarella (more cheese, I know!!) and broiled tomato slices topped with a seasoned breadcrumb mixture.
Polenta, a dish so versatile it can be had in so many ways. Made with yellow cornmeal, chicken broth, parmesan cheese and parsley
- 6 Cups Low Sodium Chicken Broth (or Vegetable Broth)
- 1 3/4 Cup Yellow Cornmeal
- 3 Tbsp Butter
- 4 Slices Mozzarella Cheese
- 1/2 Cup Grated Parmesan Cheese + 1 Tbsp
- 1/2 Cup Parsley, finely chopped + 1 Tbsp
- 1 Tomato, firm
- 1/4 Cup Breadcrumbs
- Salt and Pepper
- Cooking spray
- Olive Oil
- In a large saucepan, bring chicken broth to a boil
- Gradually whisk in the cornmeal, removing any lumps that may form
- Reduce heat and cook until the mixture thickens, stirring often for about 15 minutes
- Add parmesan, stir to combine
- Add butter, stir to combine
- Finally, add parsley and stir to combine
- Pour into a shallow dish about an inch deep. Use a spatula to spread into the corners. Allow to rest and firm up
- In a small bowl, combine breadcrumbs, 1 Tbsp parsley, 1 Tbsp parmesan. Mix to combine.
- Remove the top and bottom from the tomato and cut into 4 slices
- Line a baking tray with parchment paper. Lightly grease with cooking spray
- Place tomatoes on the tray and sprinkle each slice with a pinch of salt and pepper and then the breadcrumb mixture
- Drizzle olive oil over the breadcrumbs on each tomato slice
- Place in broiler for about 5-8 minutes or until the breadcrumbs are golden brown. Set aside when done
- Using cookie cutters, cut out 4 circles about 2-3 inches in diameter from the cooled polenta
- In a hot skillet, spray with cooking spray, brown polenta about 3-4 minutes on each side, until crispy and golden brown. Set aside.
- When the polenta and tomato are cool to the touch, place a slice of mozzarella on each polenta disc then top with a slice of tomato
Looks a lot like cornmeal porridge here!
I love the splash colour that parsley adds.
Spread the polenta evenly into the baking tray as best you can. It is quite thick at this point and needs “encouragement” to get into the corners.
I used a cookie cutter only because I wanted to stack with other ingredients that were round. Otherwise I would have just used a sharp knife and cut square pieces.
So here’s the thing. I don’t love tomatoes. But I’ll eat them like how I’ve prepared them here – with breadcrumbs. I know, I know. Weird. I’m trying to eat more though. So good for you.
I loved the smooth and creamy texture that the mozzarella added to this combination. You don’t need too much, since the flavour is very mild.
Picture perfect Polenta!
And there you have it! A tasty way to make polenta. Left over polenta is awesome pan-fried for breakfast with some maple syrup. Its like the breakfast of champions!
To my friend, Nicky – Thank you!
Happy Monday to you all!