Ham and corn polenta tart

    1 hour 15 min

    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.

    1 person made this

    Serves: 4 

    • Herbed polenta
    • 150 g (5½ oz) instant polenta
    • 600 ml (1 pint) chicken stock
    • 25 g (scant 1 oz) butter, softened
    • 2 tbsp chopped fresh chives
    • 2 tbsp chopped parsley
    • salt and pepper
    • Ham and corn filling
    • 250 g (8½ oz) broccoli, cut into small florets
    • 85 g (3 oz) baby corn, halved lengthways
    • 200 g (7 oz) lean cooked ham, diced
    • 3 spring onions, thinly sliced
    • 3 eggs, beaten
    • 240 ml (8 fl oz) semi-skimmed milk
    • 1 tsp Dijon mustard
    • 2 tbsp snipped fresh chives to garnish

    Prep:35min  ›  Cook:40min  ›  Ready in:1hr15min 

    1. Preheat the oven to 190°C (375°F, gas mark 5). Heat the stock in a large saucepan until boiling, then pour in the polenta in a steady stream, stirring constantly with a wooden spoon to prevent lumps from forming. Cook over a moderate heat, stirring, for about 5 minutes or until thick and smooth, and pulling away from the sides of the pan.
    2. Remove from the heat and beat in the butter, chives, parsley, and salt and pepper to taste. Set aside to cool for about 10 minutes.
    3. Spoon the polenta into a lightly oiled, straight-sided 25 cm (10 in) loose-bottomed flan tin that is about 4 cm (1½ in) deep. Spread out the polenta with the back of a metal spoon to cover the bottom and sides smoothly and evenly. Set the tin on a baking sheet.
    4. To make the filling, cook the broccoli and corn in a saucepan of boiling water for 3 minutes. Drain well and spoon into the polenta case. Scatter over the diced ham and spring onions.
    5. Whisk together the eggs, milk, mustard and seasoning to taste. Pour over the ham and vegetables. Bake for 35–40 minutes or until golden brown and just set.
    6. To serve, carefully remove the tart from the tin and sprinkle the top with the chives. Serve warm.

    Some more ideas

    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.

    Plus points

    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.

    Each serving provides

    C * A, B12, zinc * B1, B2, B6, E, folate, niacin, calcium, iron, potassium, selenium

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