Polenta Bites

makes about 48
Polenta Bites

Freshly made polenta make these “toasts” particularly delicious—they can even be made from polenta left over from a previous meal.

  • ¾ cup polenta
  • Salt
  • ¾ cup grated Parmigiano-Reggiano
  • ¼ cup extra-virgin olive oil plus 1 tablespoon
  • ½ cup kalamata olive spread
  • 16 pieces roasted tomatoes, cut into thirds

Put 4 cups cold water into a medium heavy-bottomed pot. Stir in the polenta and 1 generous pinch of salt. Bring to a boil over medium-high heat, stirring often. Reduce the heat to medium-low, and cook the polenta, stirring occasionally, until tender, about 45 minutes. The polenta will swell and thicken as it cooks. Stir in a little more water as needed if it gets too thick before it finishes cooking. Stir in the cheese and season with salt.

Oil an 8-inch square baking pan with 1 tablespoon of the olive oil. Spread the hot polenta in an even layer ½ inch thick in the pan, smoothing the top with a wet rubber spatula. Set aside to cool. Transfer to the refrigerator, uncovered, to firm up and cool completely.

Cut the polenta into 1-inch squares, discarding scraps. Heat the remaining ¼ cup oil in a nonstick skillet over medium heat until hot. Working in batches, fry the polenta squares until deep golden brown, about 2 minutes per side. Drain on paper towels.

To serve, top half of the polenta toasts with a small spoonful of olive spread and the remaining toasts with a piece of roasted tomato.

Appetizers & Sides