Parmesan Polenta with Burst Cherry Tomatoes


I’m almost always looking for something creamy and starchy to add to my dinner table. This peppery parmesan polenta is the perfect addition to pretty much any meal. The subtle notes of sweet corn compliment the jammy acidity of ripe cherry tomatoes. Use coarse cornmeal for an extra-smooth result. Add whatever you summer vegetables and protein you like to make this a full meal. Serves 4.


·      3 ½ cups water

·      1 teaspoon kosher salt

·      Pinch baking soda

·      ¾ cup coarse polenta or cornmeal (such as Bob’s Red Mill)

·      2 tablespoons unsalted butter

·      2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil

·      1-pint cherry tomatoes-washed and thoroughly dried

·      1 tablespoon distilled white vinegar¼ cup freshly grated parmesan cheese

·      Freshly cracked black pepper



1.     Add the water, baking soda, and ½ teaspoon of salt to a medium saucepan. Cover and bring to a boil.

2.     Slowly add the polenta, stirring with a wooden spoon or rubber spatula. Stir constantly until smooth and slightly thickened, about 2 minutes. Cover and reduce the heat to the lowest setting possible.

3.     After 3 minutes, uncover and stir the polenta, scraping down the sides and bottom of the pan. Cover and cook for an additional 25 minutes, until the polenta grains are tender.

4.     While the polenta cooks, add 2 tablespoons olive oil to a medium sized sauté pan and heat over high heat. Once the oil is hot and shimmering add the tomatoes and cook for 4 minutes, shaking the pan to circulate the tomatoes, being careful not to let them burn.

5.     Once the tomatoes have begun to blister, add the white vinegar and cook until liquid is reduced by half, about 1 minute.  Reduce the heat to medium-low. Add the remaining ½ teaspoon salt and cook for an additional 10 minutes, stirring regularly.

6.     Once the polenta and tomatoes are cooked, remove the pans from the heat. Stir the butter, parmesan, and freshly cracked black pepper into the polenta. Season to taste with salt and pepper.

7.     Add a scoop of the polenta to a bowl and top with burst cherry tomatoes. Drizzle with olive oil and season with fresh herbs. Serve hot.