These supercheesy and rich cakes are creamy on the inside with an impossible-to-resist crispy outside. Serve with roasted pork chops or chicken or over sautéed kale for a vegetarian meal. Caper berries are the slightly larger fruit of a caper bush, while capers are the small immature buds. Look for them in specialty grocery stores or order a jar online. If you can’t find caper berries, substitute one tablespoon of capers. The polenta can be made, hardened, and cut into rounds two days in advance; store in an airtight container, in the refrigerator.
- Yield: 4 Servings
- 1½ cups milk
- ¾ cup quick cooking polenta
- ¼ cup toasted hemp seeds
- Kosher salt and black pepper
- 1½ ounces Parmesan, grated
- 2 tablespoons unsalted butter, cut-up
- 8 small tomatoes (about 1½ pounds), preferably on the vine
- 0.33 cup caper berries
- 2 sprigs fresh oregano
- 2 garlic cloves, smashed
- 1 tablespoon red wine vinegar
- 4 tablespoons olive oil, divided
- Bring the milk and 1½ cups of water to a boil in a medium saucepan. Slowly whisk in the polenta and hemp seeds. Season with salt and pepper. Simmer, whisking constantly, until the polenta is soft and thickened, 6 to 8 minutes. Remove from the heat and stir in the Parmesan and butter. Season with salt and pepper. Transfer the polenta to an 8 x 8-inch baking dish and use a small offset spatula to smooth the surface. Press a piece of plastic wrap directly on the surface of the polenta (this will prevent a hard skin from forming). Chill until firm, 1 hour.
- Preheat oven to 425°F.
- Drizzle the tomatoes, caper berries, oregano, and garlic with the vinegar and 2 tablespoons of the oil in a 2-quart baking dish. Season with salt and pepper. Roast until the tomatoes are soft, 14 to 16 minutes.
- While the tomatoes are roasting, crisp the polenta. Using a 2-inch round cookie cutter, cut the firm polenta into rounds. Heat 1 tablespoon of the oil in a medium nonstick sauté pan over medium heat. Add four of the polenta rounds and cook, without moving, until golden-brown and crisp, 7 to 9 minutes. Flip and cook until golden-brown and crisp on the second side, 7 to 9 minutes. Repeat with the remaining tablespoon oil and polenta rounds.
- Serve the polenta cakes with the tomatoes and caper berries, drizzled with any juices in the pan.