This Artichoke Rosemary Tart with Polenta Crust is a great alternative to Quiche Lorraine. Although it looks like quiche, and contains ingredients typically found in quiche, like eggs and cheese, it differs in almost every other way. The vegetarian filling is made of Greek yogurt, infused with fresh herbs, and surrounded by a delicious, gluten-free, cornmeal crust. Artichoke hearts and rosemary are the base flavors in this elegant tart but you can easily swap them out for other vegetable and herb combinations. Asparagus with dill, mushrooms with thyme, and tomatoes (technically a fruit) and basil, would all taste delicious and work well with the other ingredients in this recipe.
If you’ve always wanted to make a tart but never mastered the art of homemade pastry then you will definitely want to take advantage of the ease with which this polenta crust comes together. People are often confused about the difference between polenta and cornmeal. In short, polenta is a dish that originated in northern Italy and cornmeal is the main ingredient used to make this dish. Polenta is made by cooking cornmeal in hot liquid until it reaches a porridge like consistency, at which point other ingredients, such as butter and cheese are typically added to it. The confusion arises because cornmeal is sometimes packaged and labeled as polenta. However, all this label means is that the coarser grind of cornmeal inside the package is appropriate for making polenta. Polenta is a great dish unto itself and, as evidenced by this recipe, also makes a fantastic tart crust. No rolling pin required here.
After you prepare the polenta press it into a 10-inch ceramic tart pan. I used my bent finger/knuckle as pictured, pressing it into the crease and rotating the pan until the crust eased up the side. You can pat it down and smooth it out and even flute the edge if you like. If you find the batter too sticky, just moisten your fingers – this should help.
Artichoke Rosemary Tart with Polenta Crust cuts beautifully. There is nothing more frustrating that baking a pie or tart that comes out of the oven picture perfect only to cut into it and have the filling spill out and the crust crumble and fall apart. I hate when that happens! All that effort and you’re left with something that may still taste delicious, but looks like a mess. Rest assured that will not happen with this beautiful tart – just be sure to let it cool at least 40 minutes before cutting.
Artichoke Rosemary Tart with Polenta Crust is from the award winning cookbook Ancient Grains for Modern Meals by Maria Speck. I just tracked down her newest cookbook, Simply Ancient Grains, and can’t wait to try some of the recipes. One last thing you should know about this tart is that it keeps well. Refrigerate any leftover slices and reheat them for 1 to 2 minutes in the microwave or in a toaster oven for 10 minutes. I cooked and photographed this tart over the weekend and have been enjoying it for lunch everyday this week. Four days later and it still tastes as good as it did the day I made it.
- POLENTA CRUST
- 1½ cups low-sodium vegetable broth
- 1 cup water
- ½ teaspoon fine sea salt
- 1¼ cups/7½ ounces stone ground cornmeal, medium grind
- ½ cup shredded Parmesan cheese, about 2 ½ ounces
- 1 large egg, at room temperature
- ¼ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
- ARTICHOKE CHEESE FILLING
- 1 cup plain whole-milk Greek yogurt
- 2 large eggs
- ½ cup finely chopped green onions
- 2 tablespoons chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley
- 1 tablespoon minced fresh rosemary
- ¼ teaspoon fine sea salt
- ¼ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
- 1 (9-ounce) package frozen quartered artichoke hearts, thawed and drained
- 2 ounces crumbled goat cheese (about ½ cup)
- ½ cup shredded Parmesan cheese
- To make the polenta crust, bring the broth and the water to a boil in a large heavy-bottomed saucepan over medium-high heat. Add the salt. Using a large whisk, slowly add the cornmeal in a thin stream, and continue whisking for 30 more seconds. Decrease the heat to low and cover. Cook for 10 minutes, stirring vigorously with a wooden spoon about every 2 minutes to keep it from sticking to the bottom of the pan. Remove the saucepan from the heat and let sit, covered, for 10 minutes, stirring a few times. The polenta will be fairly stiff. Stir in the Parmesan cheese, egg, and pepper.
- Grease a 10-inch ceramic tart pan with olive oil or coat with cooking spray. Have ready a tall glass of cold water. Dip a wooden spoon into the water as needed as you spread the polenta mixture across the center of the pan, pushing it up the sides. Set aside to firm up at room temperature, about 15 minutes, and then form an even rim about ¾-inch-thick with your slightly moist fingers, pressing firmly.
- Meanwhile, position a rack in the center of the oven and preheat to 375°F.
- Prepare the artichoke cheese filling. Place the yogurt, eggs, green onions, parsley, rosemary, salt, and pepper in a 2-cup liquid measure or a medium bowl and combine well with a fork. Distribute the artichoke quarters over the crust, cut sides up, forming a circle along the rim and filling the center. Sprinkle the goat cheese on top and gently pour the filling over the artichokes. Sprinkle with the Parmesan cheese.
- Bake the tart until the top turns golden brown and the filling is set, about 45 minutes. Transfer the pan to a wire rack and set aside at room temperature to firm up for at least 20 minutes, 40 if you can wait.
- Using a sharp serrated knife, cut into slices. Serve with more freshly ground pepper on top if you like.
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