Polenta Crostini with Roasted Red Peppers and Olives
How do you a strikingly elegant, from-scratch appetizer? Simple. Follow Lisa's great directions for these inventive crostini, crisp polenta squares serving as the perfect vehicle for soft, sweet and aromatic oven-roasted peppers, along with fruity, fleshy Kalamata olives.
Bite Me Bit
"You can lead a horticulture but you can't make her think." -
3 cups water
1 cup yellow cornmeal
½ cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese
1 tbsp butter
½ tsp kosher salt
1/8 tsp dried basil
Roasted Red Pepper & Olive Topping
3 large red bell peppers
½ cup pitted and chopped Kalamata olives
2 tbsp olive oil
2 tsp chopped fresh basil
1/8 tsp kosher salt
1/8 tsp freshly ground black pepper
Olive oil, for brushing polenta squares
Fresh Parmesan curls, for topping
1) For the polenta, coat an 11x7-inch baking dish with non-stick cooking spray. In a medium saucepan, bring 3 cups of water to a boil over high heat. Slowly whisk in cornmeal, turn heat to low and stir continuously, 3-4 minutes, until mixture thickens. Remove from heat and stir in Parmesan cheese, butter, salt and basil. Transfer polenta to prepared baking dish and spread evenly to coat the bottom. Let polenta cool completely, 15-20 minutes.
2) For the topping, to roast the peppers, place oven rack 4 inches from top element and preheat to broil. Line a baking sheet with aluminum foil and coat with non-stick cooking spray. Cut peppers in half, remove ribs and seeds and arrange cut-side down on prepared baking sheet. Broil until pepper skin is blackened and blistered. Remove from oven and let cool slightly before peeling. Peel off skins, coarsely chop peppers and transfer to a medium bowl. Add olives, olive oil, basil, salt and pepper. Let stand at room temperature for 20 minutes allowing flavors to blend.
3) Meanwhile, preheat oven to 400°F. Line a baking sheet with aluminum foil and coat with non-stick cooking spray. Once polenta is set, cut into 2-inch squares. Slice each square lengthwise to make a thinner square. Brush both sides with olive oil and arrange in a single layer on prepared baking sheet. Bake 15 minutes, flip and bake another 15 minutes. Remove from oven and top each square with a spoonful of the red pepper and olive mixture followed by a Parmesan curl. Serve immediately.
Yield: 30-35 squares