quiche-like veggies with a polenta crust: fave all around ::::
Polenta as a crust? For quiche? This is truly a culinary mash-up of Italian and French. Ogling the photo, they look like they were just made to be together.
I found this recipe a few years ago in the magazine Runner’s World. This was amidst training for one of my many marathons, before babies and an increasingly inflexible work schedule. I have gone back to this Italiano-Francais combo recipe several times, to confirm that it was bookmarked in my ever-growing binder of “to-do” recipes. The recipe has morphed far from its asparagus origin (I use ever-abundant zucchini) and I’ve switched the cheese from a fontina or Gruyere to a sharp cheddar. You can find the original recipe here. One surprising twist to this dish is the dill. The dill has a mild grassy and lemony flavor, possibly what one might smell when out running trails after a fresh rain and gulping down lemon-lime Gatorade when training for a long-distance race.
I found the egg mixture too salty using canned chicken stock, and low sodium-style works better. The crust is very thick but it doesn’t take away from the taste of the eggs, vegetables, or cheese. The crust isn’t crunchy like a typical pie crust but holds the filling well and gives a satisfying creamy bite.
zucchini omelet tart with dill polenta crust
Author: story of a kitchen (adapted from Runners' World magazine, Aug-Sept 2006)
Recipe type: appetizer
- Crust: 3 cups chicken stock (I used low sodium)
- cup yellow cornmeal (coarser is better)
- 1 tablespoon fresh dill or 1 teaspoon dried
- 1 teaspoon fresh pepper
- Filling: 3 small zucchini, diced to ⅛ inch
- 1 roasted red pepper
- 4 large eggs
- 6 oz of evaporated milk (I used fat free)
- ⅓ cup finely diced onion
- 1½ teaspoons salt (I felt this was too much and would use 1 teaspoon next time)
- 1 teaspoon fresh ground pepper
- 1 cup shredded sharp cheddar
- Bring stock to a boil and whisk in cornmeal slowly. Reduce heat and simmer 30 minutes; stir frequently the first four minutes, then mix every few minutes, always stirring in the same direction. When the polenta pulls away from the side of the pot, it’s done. This step actually only took 15 minutes for me.
- Add pepper and dill. Spread evenly in a 9-inch round pan.*
- Saute zucchini and onion until zucchini softens slightly and onion becomes translucent.
- Clean the roasted pepper and cut into strips.
- Whisk together eggs and add milk, salt, and pepper.
- In bottom of shell, place the peppers, zucchini, and onions. Pour egg mixture over all, top with cheese, and bake at 375 degrees for 45 minutes.
- Cool almost completely to allow ease of cutting and preventing fall-apart. Or, like me, you may cut too soon, enjoy the jumbled piece as an afternoon snack, then wait to serve the cooled tart to family.
* Concerned that the polenta would be too sticky to get out of the pan once the tart was baked, I oiled the pan. Don't do this. The oil rose to cover part of the polenta and consequently made the egg mixture less able to stick to the polenta. I had some egg-polenta interface detachment once baked. If you're worried about polenta sticking to the pan, try a very, very light oiling or a non-stick pan.