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Pan fried polenta salad with pesto and cherry tomatoes

by Lorena

This warm salad is my obsession. It has polenta that’s pan fried once cooled down and is then joined by pesto, cherry tomatoes, serrano ham and reduces balsamic / balsamic glaze.

The best thing about this salad is that you can have lots of it done previously. For example you need to cook the polenta the day before so it has time to set in the fridge. You can also have the tomatoes roasted and then just reheat for a while in the oven before serving. Even the pesto you can have ready from before by keeping it in the fridge in a container with a layer of olive oil on top to protect it from oxygen and preventing it from oxidizing. So on the day you serve there’s not much to do!

Now that it’s summer and we have the grill on half the time you should know that you can also make this polenta at the grill! Just make sure to oil it nicely so it doesn’t stick. It’s a great side dish por grilled chicken and beef.

this pesto recipe is my favourite, I love it deeply. To go with the polenta I added a bit more olive oil because I wanted it to be more saucy than my usual pesto recipe :). Also I usually like it chunkier but for the same reason as before I preferred it smoother this time.

Pan Fried Polenta salad with pesto and cherry tomatoes

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Course: Main Course, Salad, Side Dish
Cuisine: Low
Prep Time: 20 minutes
Cook Time: 20 minutes
Total Time: 40 minutes
Servings: 4 people
Author: Lorena Salinas from Cravings Journal


For the polenta

  • 100 g polenta
  • 500 ml milk any type
  • 30 g grated parmesan cheese I used Grana Padano
  • 1 garlic clove crushed with the side of a knife
  • salt and pepper to taste

For the pesto

  • 20 g basil leaves
  • 25 g almonds toasted in a preheated oven at 180C
  • 25 g walnuts toasted in a preheated oven at 180C
  • 15 g grated Parmesan cheese I used Grana Padano
  • 1/2 garlic clove minced, crushed or puréed
  • 80 g olive oil
  • salt and pepper

Para los tomates cherry

  • 350 g cherry tomatoees
  • 2 garlic cloves
  • olive oil
  • salt and pepper

To serve

  • 100 g serrano ham or prosciutto
  • balsamic glaze / balsami reduction


For the polenta

  • Add the garlic, polenta a milk to a pot over medium heat.
  • Stirs constantly using a whisk until it starts to boil. Taste the polenta and if there are still some uncooked bits left cook it a few extra seconds. 
  • Turn off the heat and add the parmesan cheese. Mix to help it melt into the polenta. Taste it and correct the level of salt and pepper.
  • Spread the mix evenly in a 2020cm mould and take it to the fridge overninght.
  • Run a knife around the edge of the mould and filp it onto a chopping board. Cut it into squares.
  • Place a pan over medium heat and add olive oil. Pan fry the polenta on either side (it takes a couple of minutes to become golden) and flip it to pan fry on the other side. Remove them from the pan and serve.

For the pesto

  • Place everything in a food procesor until you have a fine pesto.
  • If you’re not going to use it immediately you can place it in a container and layer some olive oil on top. In that way it’s not in contact with the air and won’t turn black.

For the cherry tomatoes

  • Mix the cherry tomatoes with the olive oil, garlic, salt and pepper. If they’re too big you can split them in half beforehand.
  • Take them to a preheated oven at 180C for 20-30min or until soft and bursted.

To serve

  • Make a bed of the polenta and top with the cherry tomatoes, serrano jam, drops of pesto and a drizzle of balsamic glaze.
Tried this recipe?Mention @CravingsJournal or tag #RecipeCJ!

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