Appetizers might be my favorite part of any party. Whether a fancy soiree or a simple get-together, little two-bite foods are the best. Knowing that we’ll have parties a-plenty coming soon, I wanted to add a little good luck charm of a recipe. These Polenta Caprese Appetizers would be great for any party, but they’ll be especially relevant on New Year’s Eve as polenta (corn) is a symbol of good luck and gold.
These can be served cold or hot. Either way, the polenta is a soft but firm anchor for the toppings. If you serve them per the “hot” directions, the cheese will be melty, which, who doesn’t love melty mozzarella? But, if they’re cold, they might for a nice light bite.
There are two possible approaches with this recipe. The easy method or the super easy method. If you want to go in the direction you see pictured here, go with the printable easy method below. But, if you want a shortcut, you can buy pre-made polenta that you can just slice and bake for the super easy method. It will save you about 15 minutes of work on the stove top.
When I first made this recipe, I simply did the polenta, tomatoes, basil, olive oil, salt and pepper. But, I thought it needed something more. Mixing together honey and balsamic vinegar and drizzling it on top sets these off.
I hope you enjoy your holiday entertaining and don’t let it stress you out too much. And here’s to more polenta and lots of good luck in 2017.
- 1 cup polenta
- 1 cup buttermilk or whole milk
- ½ tsp salt
- 3 cups water
- 6 oz cherry tomatoes, small diced
- 8 oz fresh mozzarella cheese, sliced
- ¼ cup basil, chiffonade
- 2 Tbs olive oil
- ½ tsp salt
- ⅛ tsp ground black pepper
- 2 Tbs honey
- 1 Tbs balsamic vinegar
- Preheat oven to 400F
- Heat 3 cups water over high heat on the stove until it comes to a simmer, then add in your polenta, ½ tsp salt and buttermilk. Reduce heat to medium low and allow to lightly simmer for 15 minutes until the polenta is soft and water is absorbed. It should be stir-able, should not turn into a solid block while in the pan. If that starts to happen, just add water by the 2TBS full.
- Spray two 8inch round cake pans with cooking spray and divide the cooked polenta between the two pans, spreading out evenly until it reaches the sides.
- Place pans in the oven and bake for 8 minutes then remove from the oven and allow to cool in the pans.
- Once cooled, turn out the polenta from the pans onto a clean work surface. It should come out as one large piece.
- slice into 12 triangles, like a pizza.
- Put a slice of mozzarella on top of each triangle.
- Toss together tomatoes, basil ,oil, salt, pepper, honey and vinegar and spoon out a healthy tablespoon of tomatoes onto each piece of cheese on top of the polenta triangles.
- Serve and enjoy!
- *alternatively, if you want this to be a hot appetizer, once you slice the polenta, place the pieces on a baking sheet and top with the cheese and place under the broiler until cheese is melty (approximately 2 minutes) then top with tomatoes as per the recipe and serve.
- *you can make the polenta a day ahead and refrigerate and serve it all cold, too.