Zucchini season has been among us for a while now, as I can easily see by scrolling new recipes popping up on the intraweb everywhere. Stuffed zucchini flowers, zucchini bread, succotash, etc. But, I’m not the biggest fan of zucchini. I like it alright, especially raw, dipped in a little bleu cheese dressing….mmm mmm good! But that’s not everyone’s cup of tea. So, braving the grocery store a few days ago (I know, boo! hiss! Not from the farmer’s market??? Well, the added 35 minute drive to the farm stands costs more than the 2 block walk to the grocery store okay?? Besides, my grocery store buys local, so ha!), I bought two little zucchinis. I would much rather have stolen them from the communal bushes outside my doorstep in our townhouse complex, but they aren’t ready yet. Late bloomers I guess. Soon!
Anyway, on to the recipe. I had mentioned earlier in the week, to my husband, that I wanted to make polenta. I love polenta. It’s so creamy and delicious. I haven’t made it at home for a very long time though, if ever for my husband…whoops! When you get it at restaurants here, it tends to be a very solid, dry lump cut into a wedge and served with some kind of topping. Barring that, it is merely a pedestal for some other ingredient in the dish. Well, I decided to make polenta the centrepiece of this dish, at least taste wise.
This was a great experiment in cooking with polenta and it turned out just fantastic to me, creamy and moist. If you like yours a little drier, I would suggest baking for longer, say 60 minutes or more.
Zucchini Tarte Tatin with Polenta
4 cups water or low sodium broth
1/2 tsp salt
1 cup whole grain cornmeal (medium to coarse grind)
2 small zucchini (approximately 6″ each)
1 tsp. veg oil
salt and pepper to taste
2 oz. Chèvre
1/2 cup asiago, grated
1 Tbsp each of fresh thyme, chives and basil, chopped
1 egg, beaten (room temperature)
1. Bring water and salt to a boil, whisk in cornmeal a little at a time to avoid clumps.
2. Cook over medium high heat for 2 minutes, whisking constantly.
3. Reduce heat to low and cover. Cook at a low simmer for 45 minutes. Stirring every 5-10 minutes for at least 1 minute.
4. Meanwhile, slice your zucchini into 1/4″ rounds.
5. Add oil to skillet and heat to medium high. Add zucchini and salt & pepper. Sauté for 6-8 minutes (or until slightly softened).
6. Grease an 8″ round baking dish. Arrange cooked zucchini in concentric circles around bottom of dish. When finished, crumble chèvre over zucchini. Preheat oven to 400°F.
7. After 45 minutes, remove polenta from heat & stir in cheese and herbs.
8. Let stand 15-20 minutes, add beaten egg and stir quickly to combine.
9. When polenta is ready, pour gently over zucchini. Spread evenly with spatula.
10. Bake for 40 minutes for a soft centre. Longer if you want it more set.
11. Take tarte out of oven and slide a knife or spatula around the edges to loosen. Place a large round plate on top of baking dish and flip everything over together to get the tarte out.
12. Serve with a green salad for a nice light dinner.