May 10, 2012

Spring Polenta Tart For Mom

You know what mom loves more than hugs? Spending time with her children. And tasting the amazing low-sodium tarts they learned how to make.

So when you spend time with mom this weekend, really impress her with this snappy spring onion polenta tart.

It’s creamy. It’s savory. It’s crispy. It’s perfect for a mom-centric brunch. And it doesn’t involve making a flour crust from scratch — which to me, is the most awesome part of all.

Caramelized onions serve as the salt-free flavor powerhouse in this dish. And when mixed with the creamy, quick cooking polenta, you create a tart “batter” that quickly sets and bakes up to a nice golden brown.

I topped this sturdy polenta tart with extra spring onions. Or  slice up and serve with a fried egg, a dollop of creme fraiche, or a mix of lightly oiled radishes and greens for a brighter finish.

Or just hand mom a fork and give her a really big hug.

Chow on.

(happy mother’s day)



Makes two 8 by 13-inch tarts OR one, 9 by 12-inch tart 

  • 5 large red and/or white spring onions
  • 1 tablespoon sweet butter (plus extra for tart pan greasing)
  • 1/4 teaspoon honey
  • 3 cups water
  • 1 cup yellow cornmeal / polenta
  • 1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • olive oil
  • two, 8 by 13-inch tart pans OR one, 9 by 12-inch pan


To get started, separate the really dark green ends of your spring onions from their lighter stem and bulb. Give everything a good rinse, making sure to get the dirt off the leaves and set the green ends aside.

Taking the bulb end, slice vertically in half and lay the flat side on a cutting board. Then, slicing across the other way, cut into thin half moon shapes. Great work so far.

In a medium-sized skillet, melt the tablespoon of butter over medium heat. Add the onions and let them sizzle, cook, and soften. To get them caramelizing, here’s a little trick: add that drizzle of honey! The sugar will help speed up the process. But you’ll still have to be a little patient, stirring and cooking those beautiful onions slices for about 25 to 30 minutes until they turn into silky, caramel onion threads. Set aside to cool, about 15 minutes, and mix with the 1/4 cup of Greek yogurt.

In a medium pot, bring water to a gentle boil and slowly pour in the polenta, stirring as you go. Add the garlic powder and freshly ground black pepper, and continuing stirring over low heat until polenta is thick and pretty dry, about 10 to 15 minutes.

Take polenta off of heat and add in the onion and yogurt mixture, giving it a good stir until all the ingredients are combined. Allow it to cool for another 10 minutes and then spread it, about 1/2-inch thick, into your tart pan(s) — which can either be two, 8 by 13-inch OR one, 9 by 12-inch in size. Place the pan(s) into the refrigerator to chill for 20 minutes.

Preheat the oven to 450dg F.

Now this is where you can get a little fancy. Using the green ends that you set aside earlier, simply slice them into thin matchsticks (like the pictures) and spread them along the top. Or, chop into tiny bits, melt another 1/2 tablespoon of sweet butter in your skillet, give them a quick saute, and then spread along the top. Either way, sprinkle a little more black pepper on the tarts and give it a little drizzle of oil.

Finally, place the tart pan(s) into the oven and bake for 10 to 15 minutes, until the polenta is firm and has turned golden brown. Pat yourself on the back and serve immediately.

+ Sodium Count: practically sodium free

Susan Tweeton May 11, 2012 at 7:14 pm

Yes, I can imagine this with a soft cooked egg on top. I love polenta in just about any form. Thanks for the great idea!

Esther August 6, 2012 at 1:56 pm

This sounds incredibly yummy, but I don’t have a tart pan. Can I use a baking dish or loaf pan, or is this, like a cheesecake or bundt, one of those things that really needs to be done in a specialty pan?

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