Bread is not the only thing that makes a good vehicle for a crunchy vibrant topping, polenta has a fantastic nutty flavour as well as making a delicious gluten-free base. Top it with some creamy beetroot-ricotta, crunchy slaw and pink pickled quail eggs and you have the culinary equivalent of a kaleidoscope, packed with crazy colours.
Polenta bruschetta with beetroot and apple coleslaw, and pickled quail eggs
Preparation time: 30 minutes
Resting time: overnight, plus 30 minutes for the polenta
For the pickle liquor
100g caster sugar
30 g salt
250 ml water
150 ml rice vinegar
1 large beetroot, peeled and roughly chopped
20 quails’ eggs, boiled for 2 minutes, peeled
For the polenta (makes 20 squares)
750ml vegetable stock 150g polenta bramata
1 tsp salt
3 tbsp olive oil
5 tbsp ricotta
sea salt and black pepper to garnish
1 small golden beetroot, peeled and julienned
1/2 granny smith apple, cored and julienned
salad cress, snipped to serve
Place the sugar and salt in a pan with the water, vinegar and beetroot. Simmer for 10 minutes. Set aside to cool. Once cool, add the boiled quails’ eggs. Place in a jar and into the fridge overnight.
For the polenta, place the stock in a medium saucepan and bring to a simmer. Add the salt and pour the polenta in a steady stream into the water. Whisk vigorously to avoid any lumps forming, turn it down to low and switch to a wooden spoon to stir for a good 15-20 minutes, until thickened and releasing some bubbles.
In the meantime, grease a baking tray about 30 x 20 cm with half the oil. Pour the polenta into the baking tray and spread out evenly, leave to cool a little then transfer to the fridge to set firm. (This should take about 30 minutes). Once firm, cut into 5 cm squares. Place the remaining oil in a shallow dish and toss the polenta squares in the oil. Heat a griddle pan on a high heat. Cook the polenta squares in batches until nicely charred. Set aside.
Remove the beetroot from the pickle liquor and whizz in a food processor with the ricotta until smooth. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Mix the beetroot with the apple. Cut the quail eggs in half. Spread some of the beetroot ricotta on the base of the polenta, add some of the shredded beetroot and apple and the halved quail eggs. Top with a little cress.
The pickled quail eggs make great portable picnic food. Simply serve with a sprinkle of sea salt.
Recipe originally featured in The Daily Mail.
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