Polenta Bruschetta with Sweet & Sour Smothered Onions

As the weather gradually gets cooler, we look to hearty dishes to keep us warm throughout the winter; therefore this week’s recipe by natural food enthusiasts Hortus Cuisine does just that, whilst introducing a Mediterranean taste of Italy.

Polenta Bruschetta with sweet & sour smothered onions uses the traditional Northern Italian dish Polenta, which is a grain-like flour which derives from corn. It is often made by adding butter and cheeses and can be prepared in a number of ways including grilled and with a range of sauces.

This dish involves turning the polenta into an authentic grilled bruschetta. And by adding a healthy dose of creamy sweet and soured onions on top and then finishing the dish with a garnish of pine nuts and raisins, this is the perfect gourmet snack to enjoy indoors with a glass of something sparkling. Enjoy!

You Will Need:

250g Polenta
1l Water
1 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
1 heaping tsp coarse salt, or a scant tsp fine salt
An extra tbsp olive oil, for grilling

3 tbsps extra virgin olive oil
2 medium white or yellow onions
1/4 cup white wine vinegar
1 tbsp Muscovado sugar
A handful of pine nuts and a handful of raisins
A pinch of salt
A good sprinkling of freshly grated pepper

How To:
(Serves 6 to 8 as an appetizer)

This recipe uses onions cooked in a way called ‘Saór’. This word means ‘tasty’ in venetian dialect, and how appropriate it is! It is also accurate that it recalls the word ‘sour’, as the onions are cooked in sugar and vinegar. I used Muscovado sugar to avoid the white stuff.
Traditionally, these onions are meant to accompany fried fish or sardines, but they are super tasty on top of this grilled polenta bruschetta. I mean, it’s browned onions – can’t go wrong now, can you?

Cook the polenta as per the instructions of the basic recipe.
In the meantime, prepare the onions: Peel them and slice them very finely, possibly with a mandoline. Add them along with the olive oil to a pan, and cook on medium, stirring often, until they start to soften, about 5 minutes. Add salt and pepper, and stir well, letting them cook for 5 more minutes.
Add the sugar and vinegar, stir well to let the sugar dissolve. From this point on, you will need to let the onions cook for 30 to 40 minutes, until darkened and creamy. Stir them every 5-10 minutes, adding splashes of water to avoid sticking or burning.
Add the pine nuts and raisins 5 minutes before they finish cooking.

To make polenta bruschetta, wait for the polenta to be fully set and slice it into 1cm slices, or less than half an inch. Heat a grill (or a nonstick pan) on very high heat, brush the polenta slices with some olive oil and grill until golden, or until you see dark ridges on each side. Spoon the onions on top, and enjoy with some good wine!

Jules B


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