This idea started off as a completely different dish where I made a rich puree of roasted tomatoes then marbled it with the polenta and set it to become a beautiful marbled tomatoey slab of polenta….except it kind of looked like a smudged mess and the tomato flavour wasn’t intense enough to hold up when stirred in to the polenta. So I decided to keep the tomatoes whole and set them within the polenta to create little bursts of flavour when you eat it. It also looks much prettier than my original idea!
I would say that this dish is to be treated like a slice of quiche – best on a summers day, with salad as a nice simple lunch. It would be a great dish to cut into small pieces and serve with a buffet/ bbq or picnic with a selection of salads, breads and side dishes.
The tomatoes take about 2 hours in the oven to create the intense flavour and soft texture but once they are done it only takes a few minutes to make the polenta and then it can be set in the fridge and left untill needed, so a great one to make in advance.
Serves 4 as a lunch or 6-8 as part of a buffet.
6 Tomatoes (I’ve made it with just red tomatoes or with a mixture of tomatoes as in the photo above, either is nice)
65g Parmesan or Mature Cheddar, grated
Large Handful Basil leaves, sliced
Rocket and Balsamic vinegar to serve
Preheat the oven to 100c. Slice the tomatoes in half and place them cut side up on a baking tray. Sprinkle them with salt and pepper, dried basil, garlic powder and olive oil and then put them in the oven for 2 hours. At this point I went shopping and when I came back I had some deliciously roasted tomatoes
Once the tomatoes are cooked put them to one side.
Put 800ml of water into a saucepan and bring to the boil, once boiling pour the polenta into the pan whilst stirring with a whisk. Cook on the hob for 4 minutes stirring constantly, be careful because it spits.
After 4 minutes take it off the heat and add the chopped basil and grated parmesan and stir untill the cheese is melted.
Place the tomatoes cut side down in a baking tray which measures roughly 10″ x 6″. Please note the picture below is from a time I used all red tomatoes but you can obviously use any tomatoes!
Pour the polenta over the tomatoes and using a knife or back of a spoon push it down over the tomatoes and smooth it on the top. Now let the polenta cool down, you can put it in the fridge if you don’t have loads of time.
Set the oven to 200c
Once cooled run around the edges with a knife to loosen it then turn the polenta slab out onto a baking tray and put it in the oven for 10-15 minutes. The polenta won’t brown but it will keep firm yet when you cut into it it’ll be lovely and soft on the inside!
Serve with Salad leaves such as rocket and balsamic vinegar.