It’s no secret that my dear sweet Beck’s appreciation for artichokes and cheese almost rival his fondness for beer and cheese. Where the Wild Rice Frittata called out to me from the table of contents of the “Ancient Grains for Modern Meals,” the Artichoke-Rosemary Tart with Polenta Crust had Beck written all over it.
I thought it might be a delectable splurge in our gluten free exploits and knew it would provide many meals for Beck while I traveled for work this week. With rapt attention, he dove into his slice of tart. There might be a very good chance that this tart might find its way onto the table for his birthday or perhaps the Sardine Tart with Sweet Bell Peppers and Currants (p. 174) with a modified gluten free crust.
While the recipe below may look arduous and long, it’s quite easy to pull together and makes for great leftovers.
ARTICHOKE-ROSEMARY TART WITH POLENTA CRUST
Reprinted with Permission from “Ancient Grains for Modern Meals” by Maria Speck. Copyright 2011 Maria Speck. Printed by Ten Speed Press.
YIELD: 4 main course servings or 8 starter course servings
1 ½ cup low-sodium vegetable broth
1 ¼ cup water
½ teaspoon fine sea salt
1 ¼ cup polenta or corn grits
½ cup shredded Parmesan cheese (about 2 ½ ounces; use the large holes of a box grater)
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 (about 3)
2 tablespoons chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley
1 tablespoon minced fresh rosemary
¼ teaspoon fine sea salt
¼ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1 (12 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 water to a boil in a large heavy-bottomed saucepan over medium-high heat. Add the salt. Using a large whisk, slowly add the polenta 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 the polenta from sticking to the bottom. 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 cheese, egg and pepper.
Grease a 10-inch ceramic tart pan with olive oil or coat with cooking spray, and place on a wire rack. 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. No need to fret over this- it’s easy.
Meanwhile, position a rack in the center of the oven and preheat to 375.
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 (you might not need all the hearts). 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.
TO GET A HEAD START
The polenta crust, as in steps 1 and 2 can be prepared 1 day ahead, as can the entire tart. Cool to room temperature, chill for a couple of hours, and then cover with plastic wrap. Allow the tart to come to room temperature before serving or gently reheat to warm (not hot) in a 325F oven for about 30 minutes.
TO LIGHTEN IT UP
Use 1 cup non- or lowfat Greek yogurt in the filling instead of whole-milk yogurt.