Sunday, June 10, 2012

Artichoke-Herb Tart with Polenta Crust

This tart takes a bit of time to pull together, but none of the steps are particularly hard and the results are more than worth it.  The tart starts off with a special crust - instead of pastry, it's made of cheesy polenta that's cooked until very thick and then pressed into a tart pan.  This process takes longer than a traditional pastry crust, but at least it doesn't involve cutting in butter or rolling anything out!  (Those are the tasks I hate about regular crusts!)  Plus, I think it's really delicious!  Once the crust is done, the filling is easy - a layer of canned artichoke hearts covered with a yogurt based custard.  I really liked the custard; I don't think I've ever made custard with Greek yogurt as the base rather than cream or milk, but it adds great tang and is healthier (no fat plus lots of protein).  The artichoke hearts are tasty and the slightly sour flavor goes well with the yogurt, but you could substitute in any vegetable you like here - just cook it first as the filling is not cooked long enough to make a raw vegetable tender.  This tart is total comfort food, hot with gooey cheese - but with really unique flavors.  If you have leftovers, they keep well in the fridge (reheat briefly in the microwave).

Artichoke-Herb Tart with Polenta Crust (adapted from Ancient Grains for Modern Meals)
Serves 3-4

For the crust:
1 cup vegetable broth
1-3/4 cup water
1/2 tsp salt
1-1/4 cup polenta
2-1/2 ounces Parmesan cheese (or another hard cheese such as Pecorino Romano), grated on the large holes of a box grater
1 large egg, at room temperature
Several grinds black pepper

For the filling:
1 cup plain non-fat Greek yogurt
2 large eggs
1/2 cup finely chopped green onions 
2 T chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley
1 tsp minced fresh rosemary
1/4 tsp salt
Several grinds black pepper
2 12-ounce cans artichoke quarters in water (without spices), drained and rinsed
3 ounces crumbled goat cheese
2-1/2 ounces Parmesan cheese (or another hard cheese such as Pecorino Romano), grated on the large holes of a box grater

1. Make the crust.  Bring the broth and water to a boil in a large, non-stick saucepan over medium-high heat. Add the salt.  Whisk in the polenta gradually, and continue to whisk for 30 more seconds.  Decrease heat to low, cover, and cook for ten minutes, stirring with a wooden spoon every couple of minutes (polenta will be very thick by the end of this process).  Remove from heat, cover, and let sit 10 minutes, stirring a few times.  Stir in the cheese, egg, and pepper until well combined.
2. Grease a 10-inch tart pan and place on a cookie sheet.  Spread the polenta into the pan with wet fingers, re-wetting your fingers as needed.  Try to create an even layer on the bottom of the pan and about 3/4 inch up the sides (no need to be perfect).
3. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees.
4. Prepare the filling.  Whisk together the yogurt, eggs, green onions, parsley, rosemary, salt, and pepper in a medium bowl.
5. Create an even layer of artichoke quarters on the bottom of the crust - you won't use all of them.  Sprinkle the goat cheese on top, and then gently pour the filling over, smoothing it out with a rubber spatula.  Sprinkle with the Parmesan cheese.
6. Bake until the top is golden brown and the filling is set, about 45 minutes.  Transfer to a wire rack and let cool at room temperature for at least 20 minutes.  Cut into slices and serve (this part is pretty messy!).


  1. I've never thought of doing a savoury polenta crust before! What a great idea :)

  2. How did you know, I was looking for artichoke recipes? The idea of a polenta crust sounds wonderful. I am printing this up to make. Thanks.

  3. I had to come back and tell you I have this book which means, I have the recipe and ignored it, all this time.

  4. I'm always a fan of recipes that say upfront that they might be time-intensive. Thanks for the heads-up!