Polenta and Artichoke Tart

I came across this recipe on a blog the other day and was instantly intrigued. I love artichokes, and polenta, and I thought polenta for the crust was such a neat idea. When we invited some friends over for dinner last night, I had the perfect excuse to try it out. The original recipe I found called for goat cheese, which I think would be delicious, but unfortunately Justin does like goat cheese. Obviously he has the wrong preferences, but because I love him I changed this around a bit to use mozzarella instead. It was still delicious, but if you like goat cheese, I think the goat cheese would make it even better.

Polenta Crust
1 1/2 cups vegetable stock
1 1/4 cup water
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 1/4 cup polenta (cornmeal)
1/2 parmesan cheese
1 large egg at room temperature
1/4 teaspoon peper

Heat the vegetable stock and water in a large pot over medium high heat.  Add the salt when it starts boiling, and then slowly pour in the polenta, whisking constantly.  Continue to whisk for another 30 seconds, and then turn the heat down to low and cover.  Cook for 10 minutes, stirring occasionally.  Remove the pan from the heat and let the polenta sit, covered for another 10 minutes, stirring it once or twice while it sits.  Add in the egg, cheese, and pepper.

Grease a 10 inch cake or tart pan with olive oil, and then spoon in the polenta.  Using your hands or a wooden spoon, push the polenta around to cover the bottom of the pan, and push it up the sides a little bit to form a crust.  Wetting your hands or the spoon with a little bit of cold water will help keep the polenta from sticking.

Artichoke Filling
1 cup plain greek yogurt
2 large eggs
1/2 cup finely chopped shallot (1 small)
2 tablespoons chopped flat leaf parsley
1 tablespoon chopped Thyme
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon pepper
12 ounces artichoke hearts
1/2 cup shredded mozzarella
1/2 cup grated parmesan

Spread the artichoke hearts around the crust and top with the mozzarella.  Whisk together the yogurt, eggs, shallots, herbs, and salt and pepper.  Pour over the artichokes, and spread evenly.  Sprinkle the last 1/2 cup of parmesan over the top of the tart.  Bake at 375 for 45 minutes, until the cheese on top is nicely browned.  Allow it to sit for a few minutes after you take it out of the oven so that everything can solidify.

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