Are you guys into polenta? It’s been a recent (as in this year) discovery for me and I can’t get enough. It’s such a great base for all kinds of recipes and this polenta and roasted veggie pie is still one of my favorite recipes. For these little cakes, I caramelized some onions, added chopped sundried tomatoes, and stirred it all into quick cooking polenta. Then I grilled each cake after letting the polenta set and served it with prepared pesto.
So let’s get started! Caramelize those onions and inhale the glorious scent.
Then chop up some sundried tomatoes and measure out your polenta along with some shredded parmesean cheese, butter, salt, sugar and water. Quick cooking polenta moves FAST so you want to be ready.
Once the onions are just about caramelized (about 30 minutes), bring your water, butter, sugar and salt to a light simmer and then slowly pour in the polenta, whisking constantly. Once the polenta is fully added, turn the heat off and continue to stir with a wooden spoon until the polenta becomes thick and pulls away from the sides of the pot. Then stir in your caramelized onions and sundried tomatoes.
Press the entire polenta mixture into a lightly greased bread loaf pan and use a piece of press ‘n seal wrap to press down on it and flatten it. Keep the pan sealed and place it in the fridge to allow it to set. This only takes about 30 minutes but can also be done overnight ahead of time.
Once it’s set, pull the wrap off and cut the polenta into squares. Meanwhile, heat a skillet over medium heat and spray it lightly with cooking spray.
Once the skillet is hot, place the polenta cakes on it and cook for about 3 minutes per side or until they begin to brown.
Then remove from the heat and serve with prepared pesto over top along with some additional chopped sundried tomatoes. These were delicious-slightly salty from the pesto, tart from the sundried tomatoes, and they have a subtle sweetness in only the way that caramelized onions can provide.
We loved these! They were a great side dish but I could also see them being a perfect mini-appetizer that could be pan-fried ahead of time and then just kept warm until guests are ready to eat them. Hope you enjoy!
- 1/2 of a large vidalia onion
- 1 tablespoon of extra virgin olive oil
- 1/2 tablespoon of unsalted butter
- 1/4 cup packed sundried tomatoes, drained of oil
- 1 1/2 cups of water
- 1/2 tablespoon of unsalted butter
- 1/2 teaspoon of salt
- 1/2 teaspoon of sugar
- 1/2 cup quick cooking polenta
- 1/4 cup shredded Parmesan cheese
- 2 tablespoons of prepared pesto
- Heat a saucepan over medium heat and add olive oil and butter. Then, add in chopped onion and turn the heat down to medium-low. Let onions caramelize for about 30 minutes. They should turn soft and brown.
- Meanwhile, bring water, butter, sugar and salt to a light simmer
- Pour in 1/2 cup of polenta and whisk constantly
- Once the polenta begins to thicken and stick to the side of the pot, trade the whisk for a wooden spoon and continue stirring
- Stir in parmesan cheese and remove from heat
- Add 1/4 cup of chopped sundried tomatoes and the caramelized onions to the polenta
- Stir to combine and then pour mixture into a lightly greased bread loaf pan. Use a piece of wax paper or press 'n seal to press down on the polenta and create an even layer
- Cover the polenta and refrigerate until it hardens (you can do this all the night before or an hour before)
- Once the polenta has hardened, cut into squares
- Heat a skillet over medium heat and spray with cooking spray
- Pan fry the polenta squares for about 3 minutes and then flip and cook for 3 minutes more.
- Remove and serve with pesto and additional sundried tomatoes