Print Recipe Polenta-Crusted Deep-Dish Cheese and Roasted Vegetable Tart
Servings: 6 as main course, 8-10 as a first course
- 1 medium eggplant, about 1 pound, cut lengthwise into ¾-inch-thick slices
- 2 large portobello mushroom caps, about ¾-pound total
- 3 fresh plum tomatoes, halved lengthwise and seeded
- 6 tablespoons olive oil
- Freshly ground black pepper
- 4 cups water
- 1 cup plus 1 tablespoon instant polenta, see Note
- 5 teaspoons finely chopped fresh rosemary
- 1¼ cups shredded Gruyere cheese
- 1¼ cups shredded Monterey Jack cheese
- 2 tablespoons hot chile oil, see Note
- Caramelized Onions
- Position a rack in the middle of the oven and preheat to 450°F.
- On two jelly-roll pans, brush the eggplant slices, portobellos and tomato halves with 5 tablespoons of the olive oil. Season with salt. Working in batches if necessary, roast the vegetables in the oven, turning them once or twice, until lightly browned and tender, about 15 minutes. Cool to room temperature.
- Lower the oven temperature to 400°F.
- Cut the eggplant slices and mushroom caps into ½-inch strips. Chop the tomatoes. Season the eggplant, mushrooms and tomatoes lightly with salt and generously with black pepper.
- In a small, heavy saucepan over high heat, bring the water to a boil. Stir in 1 ½ teaspoons salt. Gradually whisk in the polenta. Stir in 3 teaspoons of the rosemary. Lower the heat to low and cook gently, uncovered, stirring often, until very thick, 3 to 5 minutes. Remove from the heat. In a bowl, mix together the Gruyere and Monterey Jack cheeses. Add ½ cup of the mixed cheeses and a generous grinding of pepper to the hot polenta. Stir well. With the remaining 1 tablespoons of oil, lightly coat the inside of a 10-inch diameter, 2-inch deep fluted quiche pan with a removable bottom (or a similar rectangular pan). Spoon the hot polenta into the prepared pan. With a spatula, spread it over the bottom and up the sides to form a shell about ½ inch thick. Brush the inside of the shell with the chile oil.
- Set the quiche pan on a baking sheet and set it in the oven. Bake until the shell has firmed and is lightly browned and crisp, about 20-25 minutes. Transfer to a work surface.
- Lower the oven temperature to 350°F.
- Scatter ½ cup of the mixed cheeses over the bottom of the shell. Spread the Caramelized Onions over the cheese. Scatter another ½ cup cheese over the onions. Spoke fashion, arrange the eggplant and mushroom strips, alternating them, in 2 layers over the onions. Scatter the remaining 1 cup cheese over the vegetables. Stir the remaining 2 teaspoons rosemary into the tomatoes. Dollop the tomatoes atop the cheese in a decorative pattern (for instance, 1 dollop in the center and 6 around the edge of the tart). Return the tart to the oven and bake until the cheeses are just melted, 15 to 20 minutes.
- Cool completely on a rack. With a small knife, carefully release the sides of the quiche pan. Remove the sides. Cut the tart into wedges. Serve at room temperature or rewarm the tart in a 300°F oven if desired. Note: Most instant polenta comes boxed, as a proportioned mix. To make this recipe, measure out the required amount of polenta meal, reserving the remainder for another use. Some Italian chili pastes separate and the oil that rises to the top can be used here. Or, prepared chili-flavored olive oil is available in bottles in gourmet shops and some supermarkets. Asian hot oils, with added seasonings, are not appropriate for this.
Print Recipe Caramelized Onions
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 4 cups thinly sliced yellow onion (from two 8-ounce onions)
- ¾ teaspoons herbes de Provence, crumbled
- ½ teaspoons sugar
- ½ teaspoons salt
- In a large, heavy skillet over low heat, warm the olive oil. Add the onions, herbes de Provence, sugar and salt. Cover and cook, stirring occasionally, until the onions are golden and juicy, about 30 minutes. Uncover the skillet and cook, stirring occasionally, until the onions juices have evaporated, 15 to 20 minutes. Raise the heat slightly and cook, stirring often, until the onions are lightly and evenly browned, another 10 to 15 minutes. Remove from the heat and cool slightly.