Polenta Caprese Towers

>> Thursday, October 8, 2009

I miss summer already and it barely has one foot out the door. It's not the sweaty, sticky weather I miss, it's the gorgeous, plump, rainbow hued heirloom tomatoes. You can still find the last of them kicking around farmer's markets and shops but it's obvious that fall is here and the best tomatoes are gone until next year. If you do happen to come across some decent tomatoes or if your garden produced a bumper crop, this recipe will put them to good use, making the most of their tart, umami goodness. I put together this recipe to use up the last bit of burrata cheese we had in our fridge. Burrata is a very soft mozzarella stuffed with cream. It is one of my very favorite things in the world. It's mild, creamy and tender. It brings out the very best in anything you put it on. My sous-chef likes his on warm crusty bread with a bit of sea salt, olive oil and balsamic. Since bread is a no-no for me, I decided crispy polenta would be even better.  I couldn't be happier with how these turned out. Try them for yourself and see!

- 5-6 heirloom tomatoes of assorted sizes and colors
- olive oil
- balsamic vinegar 
- 1-2 cloves minced garlic
- 1 tsp of sugar
- 1 tsp sea salt
- 1/8 tsp black pepper

- ready-to-use polenta log
- pinch of garlic powder
- 1 tbsp butter
- 1 1/2 tbsp canola oil
- 4-6 oz package fresh mozzarella cheese (cut into 1/4-1/2 inch slices)
- 1/3 cup parmesan cheese (shredded)
- 1 package burrata mozzarella cheese
- 4-6 fresh basil leaves, cut into thin strips

Preheat oven to 275 degrees.
Slice tomatoes into 1/4 - 1/2 inch thick slices and place in a single layer on a foil lined baking sheet.

Drizzle with olive oil and a touch of balsamic vinegar.
Sprinkle minced garlic evenly over the tomatoes.
Mix together sugar, salt and pepper and sprinkle evenly over tomatoes.

Bake for 45 min to 1 hour until tomatoes are softened and beginning to brown at the edges.

Cut polenta into 1/2 inch slices

Heat butter and oil in a skillet over medium-high heat until it begins to bubble. Place polenta slices in the oil and cook each side about 10 minutes or until crisp.

Place the rounds on another foil lined baking sheet.

Top half the slices with grated parmesan cheese and a sprinkle of garlic powder.
Top the other half with a slice of fresh mozzarella cheese (NOT the burrata.)
Broil in the oven until the cheese melts; watch closely. When cheese is bubbly and edges are brown, remove and let cool.

Stack: Start with a polenta round topped with parmesan cheese, next place a roasted tomato, next place a plop of burrata, next place a polenta round topped with mozzarella then top with a tomato. Sprinkle fresh basil on top. Voila!


Justin October 13, 2009 at 7:52:00 AM PDT  

Greetings from Cape Town!
Oh, these look amazing!
Thanks for sharing.

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