Sunday, January 31, 2010

Going Local: Polenta Pizza with Blue Cheese and Caramelized Onions from Scratch

I've decided to make a recipe once a week that's made from only locally purchased ingredients. No imported goodies, no outsourced delicacies, no suitcase surprises. Every ingredient must have been purchased in Tajikistan; however, it can be imported from elsewhere. I'm calling this category "Going Local". It will push me to use ingredients that I might not readily use otherwise, or at least in inventive and new (to me!) ways.

So, welcome to the first Going Local post!

I went to a fun girls' night out on Friday night. Mixed drinks (very yummy mixed drinks!) were provided and the food was potluck. Wanting to bring something finger food-y, I recalled a polenta pizza I made just about a year ago. We had just arrived to Dushanbe and were living in a temporary apartment with our eight suitcases and little more.

Which is a testament to how easy this is to make! Everything is locally purchased and its a breeze to make.

You need cornmeal, blue cheese, onions, salt and olive oil.

If you aren't familiar with cornmeal, this is what it looks like close-up.

I measured about 3/4 cup of cornmeal and 3 cups of water in a heavy bottomed pan.

Bring it a boil over high heat, and once it begins to bubble stir like mad for about 5 minutes until the liquid is absorbed and the dried bits of ground corn are plump. Once thickened like so, add about 50 grams of crumbled blue cheese, a good pinch of salt and stir to combine.

Spray or lightly coat a pizza pan with oil.

And plop the gooey cheesy mess right in the middle.

Spread the polenta evenly in the pan.

Pop the tray into a 350 degree (177 C) oven for about 20 minutes, until the polenta brightens to a deep gold color and starts to pull away from the edges slightly.

While the polenta is cooking in the oven, thinly slice about 2 cups of onions.

Heat about a tablespoon of olive oil on med high heat in a saute pan and add your onions. To caramelize them, toss the pan to coat the onions in the oil, but then be patient. Let them sit for a good five minutes or even longer before you move them around. If they are browning too quickly, then turn the heat down. Do this for about 45 minutes until they look like this.

Scatter the caramelized onions on the baked polenta. Then take another 50 grams of crumbled blue cheese add that to the top.

Put the pizza back into your 350 oven for about 10 or 15 minutes, or until the blue cheese is oozy and gooey. Let it cool slightly then cut into wedges. Its great both hot and room temp. Easy, delicious AND local.

Happy cooking!


Andrea said...

Julie - Can I cook this in a glass quiche dish if I don't have a pizza dish? Or will that affect how it cooks? Looks super! Finally found polenta at Zulol!!! = )

A Broad Living Abroad said...

@Andrea - Absolutely! I've made this in many baking dishes, includes glass. The only real differences might be the thickness of the pizza. If your dish is smaller, making your pizza thicker you could 1) keep it thick and cook it longer, and/or 2) keep the pizza thin and make a second with the leftovers.

I need to get to Zulol and by myself some more! Thanks for the heads up!