Easy and festive. This sun-dried tomato garnished polenta appetizer may be made two days in advance and assembled right before serving.
The polenta and sun-dried tomato topping may be made up to two days in advance, and kept separtely in the refrigerator.
- 1 teaspoon vegetable oil, or as needed
- 2 cup water
- 1 cup instant polenta
- 1 teaspoon kosher salt
- ½ cup heavy cream
- ¼ cup parmesan cheese, grated
- ½ cup oil-packed sun-dried tomatoes
- 3 tablespoon mint or basil, chopped
- 1 pinch freshly cracked black pepper, to taste
- 1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar
Prepare the polenta: Brush an 8x8 inch glass baking dish lightly with oil. Bring water and salt to a boil in a heavy bottomed, medium-sized saucepan set over medium heat. Add the polenta and whisk to break up any clumps. Lower the heat. Let the mixture simmer about 3 minutes, stirring often. Alternate the stirring between both a whisk to prevent clumps and a flat-bottomed wooden spoon to keep the polenta from sticking and burning, until thickened. If not using instant polenta more cooking (up to 10 minutes may be needed).
Remove the pan from the heat and add the cream and Parmesan cheese, whisking to mix well. Scrape the polenta into the prepared baking dish. Spread as evenly and smoothly as possible. Let cool about 10 minutes, then refrigerate, uncovered, until chilled and firm.
Prepare the topping: Julienne the oil-packed sun-dried tomatoes into thin strips. Add them, along wth the mint or basil, balsamic and black pepper to a small bowl. Mix well.
Assemble: About an hour before servings, set a cutting board or very flat plate that’s larger than the baking dish upside down on top of the baking dish. Hold the cutting board or plate and baking dish firmly together in front of you. Quickly invert both the cutting board or plate and baking dish in one confident motion, letting the polenta fall onto the plate in one piece. Trim the edges for neatness, and cut the polenta into 36 similarly sized pieces, laying them onto a serving plate. Garnish each square with some of the sun-dried tomato topping. Allow to come to room temperature and serve.