Dining

Recipe for White Corn Polenta Tarts (from executive chef at Sbicca in Del Mar)

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White Corn Polenta Tart (Courtesy photo)

White Corn Polenta Tart (Courtesy photo)

Sbicca in Del Mar is one of my favorite places to enjoy fabulous modern American cuisine while watching the sunset over the beautiful Pacific.

Knowing I am of Italian decent, Executive Chef Susan Sbicca gave me her recipe for White Corn Polenta Tarts (see recipe below).

White Corn Polenta Tarts

For the Polenta (makes 10-12 tarts)

  • 3 cups vegetable stock
  • 2 teaspoons sugar
  • 1 teaspoon sea salt
  • 1 teaspoon dried thyme
  • 1 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
  • 1 teaspoon lemon zest
  • 1/2 cup white corn meal
  • 1/2 cup polenta
  • 1/2 cup fresh white corn
  • mini-muffin pan
  • oil for coating the muffin pan

Bring vegetable stock to a simmer. Add sugar, salt, spices and lemon zest. Simmer for 2 minutes. Add corn meal and polenta slowly while stirring. As it thickens, reduce heat. Be careful! Stir constantly until thick, about 6-8 minutes. The Italians say that when your arm really hurts, it’s ready! Remove from heat, stir in fresh corn, and check for salt.

Scoop polenta into well-oiled mini-muffin pan. As it cools, mold a rounded shape to create a bowl. Refrigerate.

Rest of the recipe after the jump:

For the filling

  • 1/2 cup dried tomato, chopped
  • 1/2 cup hearts of palm, chopped
  • 1/2 cup morel mushrooms, sliced
  • 1/4 cup dry-cured olives, minced
  • 1/2 cup fresh peas, blanched
  • 2/3 cup truffled cheese, grated
  • 3 tablespoons basil chiffonade

Toss all ingredients together. Fill each polenta tart with the mixture and bake 15 minutes at 350 degrees F.

For the Pinot-Corn Sauce

  • 1 cup good pinot
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 cup fresh white corn
  • 1/2  teaspoon apple cider vinegar
  • salt and pepper, to taste

In a small sauce pan, reduce pinot by half. Set aside. Saute corn in olive oil for 5 minutes. Add pinot and vinegar. Carefully puree mixture in a blender. Strain, and add salt and pepper.

To plate:

Place tart in the center of a small plate and drizzle with sauce. Repeat with remaining tarts.

Recipe by Susan Sbicca (Recipe edited by Maria Desiderata Montana)

Maria Desiderata Montana is an award-winning food and wine journalist, editor, and published author based in San Diego. She gained an appreciation of European cuisine from her parents who were born and raised in Calabria, Italy. Visit her website at www.sandiegofoodfinds.com.

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