- 3 tablespoon olive oil, plus more as needed
- 1 cup coarse cornmeal
- 1/2 cup milk, preferably whole
- 2 cup onions, chopped
- 1 tablespoon minced garlic
- 3/4 cup green olives, pitted and roughly chopped
- 3 cup chopped tomatoes (canned are fine; include their juice)
- 1/2 cup chopped fresh basil, plus more for garnish
- 1/2 cup grated parmesan cheese, optional
Brush a layer of oil on a pizza pan or baking sheet.
Put the cornmeal and a large pinch of salt in a medium saucepan; slowly whisk in 2 1/2 cups water and the milk to make a lump-free slurry.
Set the pot over medium-high heat and bring almost to a boil, then reduce the heat to low.
Cook, whisking frequently, until thick, 10 to 15 minutes.
If the mixture becomes too thick, whisk in a bit more water; you want the consistency to be like thick oatmeal.2.
Stir 1 tablespoon of the oil into the polenta.
Spoon it onto the prepared pan, working quickly so the polenta doesn't harden; spread it evenly 1/2 inch thick all over.
(It doesn't have to be a perfect circle.)
Sprinkle with salt and pepper, cover the polenta with plastic wrap, and refrigerate until firm, 1 hour or more (you can refrigerate it for up to 24 hours if you prefer).3.
Heat the oven to 450° F.
Bake the polenta until it begins to brown and crisp on the edges, 25 to 30 minutes.
Meanwhile, put 2 tablespoons oil in a large skillet over medium heat.
Add the onions and garlic and cook, stirring occasionally, until the onions begin to soften, about 5 minutes.
Add the olives and tomatoes, sprinkle with salt and pepper, and cook, stirring occasionally, until the tomatoes break down and thicken a bit, about 15 minutes.
(You can make the stewed olives ahead to this point and refrigerate for up to a day; gently reheat before proceeding.)
Stir in the basil, taste and adjust the seasoning, and keep warm.4.
When the polenta cake is ready, cut it into wedges.
Serve the stewed olives and tomatoes over the pieces of polenta cake; drizzle with more olive oil and garnish with more basil and the cheese if you like.