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Crusted Polenta Tart with Pesto, Courgette, and Gruyère

This beautiful, gluten-free tart is made without a tart pan in sight, just a baking sheet!  The edges of the polenta are crisp, the center is soft, and the topping is a meltingly flavorful mix of nutty Gruyère cheese, mellow roasted garlic, and perky basil pesto. A true winner! We served it with a simply grilled halibut fillet, but it would also be lovely served on its own, even cold for lunch, or at a picnic.

Crusted Polenta Tart with Pesto, Courgette and Gruyère

For the polenta:

18 fl. oz. vegetable broth (2¼ cups)
5 oz. fine polenta (¾ cup)
2 oz. grated Gruyere cheese (¾ cup, not packed)
1 medium egg, slightly beaten

For the topping:

1 tbs. vegetable oil
3 tbs. basil pesto
2 small courgettes (zucchini), thinly sliced
4 garlic cloves, thinly sliced
1 oz. Gruyere cheese (scant ½ cup, not packed)
basil leaves

Bring the broth to a simmer over a low heat and, working quickly, add the polenta and stir with a wooden spoon until there are no lumps and it thickens 4-5 minutes. Remove from the heat and stir in the Gruyère, the egg, and a generous amount of seasoning. Set aside to cool a bit.

Heat the oven to 400°F. Lightly brush a baking sheet with the oil. Tip the polenta in the center and, using a spatula or oiled fingers, spread to an even 8″ x 10″ rectangle. Spread over the pesto, leaving a 1/2″ border. Top with the courgette slices, the garlic, and the Gruyère. Season with black pepper.

Bake for 45 minutes, then reduce the heat to 350°F and bake an additional 10-15 minutes. Allow to cool for 10 minutes, then sprinkle with basil leaves and serve.


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