Soft buttery polenta makes a lovely golden tart case, prettily flecked with green herbs. The filling is an appetising combination of diced ham, broccoli florets, baby corn and spring onions in a mustardy egg custard. Serve warm with a salad such as lightly blanched French beans tossed with sliced courgettes.
Instead of baby corn, use drained canned sweetcorn or frozen sweetcorn. * For a vegetarian chickpea and corn polenta tart, cook the polenta in vegetable stock, and replace the ham with 1 can of chickpeas, about 410 g, drained and rinsed. * Make a bresaola and artichoke polenta pie. Flavour the polenta with 4 tbsp chopped fresh basil in place of the parsley and chives. Cool until firm enough to handle, then press two-thirds over the bottom and sides of a lightly greased 23 cm (9 in) metal pie dish. Arrange 100 g (3½ oz) chopped bresaola (air-dried beef), 2 sliced tomatoes and 1 can of artichoke hearts, about 400 g, drained and halved, in the polenta case. Beat 2 eggs with 120 ml (4 fl oz) semi-skimmed milk and seasoning to taste. Pour into the polenta case. Press out the remaining polenta on a lightly floured surface into a round about 5 mm (¼ in) thick, and cut out twelve 4 cm (1½ in) rounds. Arrange over the filling, slightly overlapping. Brush lightly with 1 tsp extra virgin olive oil and sprinkle with 30 g (1 oz) freshly grated Parmesan cheese. Bake in a preheated 180°C (350°F, gas mark 4) oven for 40 minutes or until golden brown.
Polenta is low in fat and a rich source of starchy carbohydrate. Including it in the diet can help to meet the healthy eating recommendations to increase carbohydrate intake and decrease fat intake. * Ham is a particularly good source of vitamin B1, essential for the release of energy from carbohydrate foods such as polenta. * Broccoli is packed with vitamins, including many of the antioxidants as well as vitamin B6, folate and niacin. It is also a good source of phytochemicals, particularly indoles which research suggests may be helpful in protecting against breast cancer.
C * A, B12, zinc * B1, B2, B6, E, folate, niacin, calcium, iron, potassium, selenium