You heard me. I made something savory. I'm not sorry. This is what I made.
What is it, you ask? Well, it's little cubes of polenta with homemade tapenade and slow roasted tomatoes on top. I know. Fancy. I got the idea from a website called Coconut & Berries.
Basically, what happened was this. Someone contacted me and asked if I could make desserts for her party. I was all, OK.
And then she was like, hey, can you make a vegan appetizer, too? Well, why not?
I've never done such a thing, but it was actually pretty fun. I definitely would manage my time slightly better next time, but I did deliver on time.
I made za'atar bread, mini peach pies, and these babies: polenta-olive tapenade bites.
These little guys start out with polenta, plain and simple. But once you cook it, you transfer the still-gooey cereal into square brownie pan, and let it set in the fridge. From there, it will solidify into a solid unit. Once set, you cut it into cubes and toast them under the broiler, then top them with tapenade and tomato slices.
I've got to tell you, these appetizers came out brilliantly. The polenta, made with vegetable broth, was not too bland, but not too powerfully flavored so as to compete with the other elements. The tapenade added a perfect, salty bite, and the mellow, slow-roasted tomatoes added a touch of sweetness. It was a perfect combo of salty, naturally sweet, and mellow.
Not only are they cute, but pretty healthy and vegan and gluten-free, naturally.
Hey, want to make your own? Follow this recipe.
Polenta Tapenade Appetizers
Adapted lightly from Coconut & Berries
- 1 cup polenta (I used Bob's Red Mill)
- 3 cups vegetable broth
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 1 batch of olive tapenade (I did the "vegan" version of this recipe by omitting the anchovy)
- cherry tomatoes (I used the better part of one of those mini baskets of them)
- Parsley, for garnish
- Prepare the polenta per the package instructions, but using the vegetable broth in place of water. Add the tablespoon of olive oil toward the end of the cooking, for an extra-rich flavor.
- Once the polenta is done, transfer it into a greased and parchment-lined square brownie tin. Spread to smooth the top as much as you can. Place it in the fridge for an hour or so, to set.
- Invert the pan on to a work surface; the polenta should come out in one solid piece. Cut it into cubes (I did about 1 1/2 inch cubes)
- Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Set the oven to broil.
- Line the cubes on the prepared baking sheet. Place under the broiler for several minutes, or until the cubes are toasty and crisp.
- Remove from the oven, and let cool for a couple of minutes. Top with a small scoop of tapenade and a cherry tomato half (I slow-roasted mine by slicing them in half, sprinkling with olive oil, salt and pepper, and baking at 300 degrees until softened and lightly toasty).
- Garnish with a little bit of parsley (I took my pics before I had done this!). You win at parties!