Polenta Pizza?!

Polenta Pizza

Out of the oven…

I had my wisdom teeth removed recently. What fun. In my search to find softer foods to eat, I realized polenta would probably fit the bill. If you’ve never bought polenta before, you have two main options. You can buy polenta pre-cooked, typically in a soft plastic tube. This form of polenta is ready to slice and then fry or bake as you see fit. It can be found at most supermarkets.

The other option is to make it from scratch. I buy a 1kg package of vacuum packed dried polenta (which is essentially cornmeal) from Italian food stores. On a stove top, you add 4 parts liquid to one part polenta, heat to a boil, turn down and simmer covered, stirring occasionally. I find you can cook it for anywhere from 30 – 45 minutes depending on how firm you want it to end up.

After polenta is cooked, you can pan-fry it, bake it or even deep fry it. Its a nice change of pace from other starches like rice, pasta or potatoes. As this recipe attempts to demonstrate, it can even serve as a gluten-free substitute for pizza crust.

Ingredients

Polenta, either store bought or cooked yourself – the firmer the better.
Olive oil to fry the polenta in
Tomato / pizza sauce
Cheese
Pizza toppings – I used some salami, onion, and red bell pepper.

Directions

As mentioned, I had cooked my polenta from scratch – for liquid I used half chicken stock and half water. I cooked it for 45 minutes, and then left it to cool and firm up, covered in the pot it cooked in.

Cooked Polenta

Cooked polenta on the stove top

Prep your pizza toppings. I didn’t have any mozzarella so used some sharp cheddar, monteray jack and a bit of feta I had leftover from a greek salad.

Pizza toppings

Toppings

Heat up a pan to medium and add a good dash of olive oil. Its destined for the oven so make sure its suitable for that purpose. I used a cast iron pan. When the pan is heated, add enough polenta to form a pizza in the size you want, approximately 3/4 ” thick.

Allow it to fry for at least 5 minutes, checking to make sure it doesn`t stick or burn. The longer it cooks, the crispier the polenta crust will get.

Flip the polenta once it has formed a bit of a crust on the bottom – In my case, I flipped it into another heated cast iron pan to minimize the risk of it breaking apart.

Once the other side has finished cooking, spread as much tomato sauce on top as is your preference.

Polenta with tomato sauce

with tomato sauce

Add your toppings and then put the pan into a pre-heated 425 degree oven.

Toppings added to the polenta

Toppings added

Cook for 10 minutes or until the cheese has melted and started to brown. Remove from the pan from the oven and let cool – the pan and pizza will be very hot.

Use a spatula and serve onto a plate or bowl.

One half of the polenta pizza

Yes, I quickly returned for the second half.

 



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