I make this tart at least twice each summer! It's a super easy and exceptionally beautiful way to showcase cherry tomatoes at their peak. It would be a lovely appetizer for a dinner party or a great meatless Monday dinner option, with a salad on the side.
Polenta Tart with Roasted Cherry Tomatoes
Serves 8 – or three women who are very hungry
For the polenta crust:
4 cups water 1/2 tsp kosher salt 1 cup polenta or yellow corn meal 2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
¼ cup parmesan cheese, shredded ¼ cup chiffonade of basil
For the tomatoes: 1 1/2 pounds cherry tomatoes 2-3 garlic cloves, smashed and peeled 2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil Kosher salt Freshly ground black pepper
For garnish: Extra virgin olive oil Chiffonade of basil or small basil leaves
Preheat the oven to 375°F. Using olive oil, lightly oil a 10-inch tart pan with a removable bottom and set it aside.
To make the polenta, bring the water to a boil over medium-high heat. Add 1 1/2 teaspoons salt. Slowly whisk in the polenta and continue whisking until thickened. Reduce the heat to low-medium and continue cooking for 10 minutes, whisking very frequently. Remove from heat and stir in 2 tablespoons olive oil and 1/4 cup basil.
Let the polenta cool slightly and then pour it into the tart pan. Use the back of a wet spoon to smooth it evenly into the pan. Set it aside to firm up.
Meanwhile, toss the tomatoes and garlic with 1 tablespoon olive oil and a generous amount of salt and pepper and spread them out evenly on a baking sheet. Roast until the tomatoes are just bursting, about 10 minutes. Remove from the oven.
Place the polenta crust in the oven and bake for about 20 minutes until the edges are somewhat dry and crisp. Remove from the oven and arrange the tomatoes on top. (You’ll have leftover tomato juices, olive oil, and garlic in the roasting pan — this is delicious in a salad dressing!) Return the tart to the oven for 5 more minutes or until heated through.
Un-mold when cool enough to handle. Drizzle olive oil on top and scatter with basil. Serve warm or at room temperature.
Make-ahead tips: Polenta can be poured into the pan, cooled, and refrigerated until ready to bake. Tomatoes can be roasted, cooled, transferred to a container and covered with olive oil, and refrigerated until ready to bake.
Goat cheese version (non-vegan): Replace the olive oil in the polenta with 2 ounces of chèvre and spread 3-4 ounces of chèvre on the crust before arranging the tomatoes on top.