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Polenta Tart with Green Garlic and Spinach

trimmed green garlic

I have to say that I don’t care for microwave ovens—although I have one. When I do use the “micro,” I make a point not to stand in front of it, and that’s about the extent of precaution. I use mine to defrost things every once in a while and I use it to make polenta.

Microwave is a no muss/no fuss method of cooking polenta and I can be prepping the other parts of the meal while the polenta is nuking away.

Unless you are more adverse to the nuclear machines than I, or your kitchen is not so modernly equipped, you will enjoy ease of polenta cooking in a microwave oven.

This polenta tart recipe uses my microwave polenta technique. The “crust” is gluten-free and lower in calories than a butter tart crust. And polenta perfectly complements the filling in an Italian sort of way.


Polenta Crust in 9-inch tart pan with removable ring

Chive and their blossoms












One of the surprises in our Ranui Gardens CSA box this week is green garlic. I wonder if John planted some garlic specifically for a green garlic harvest or if he is thinning the crop to allow more space for bulb development of what’s left in the rows.

Green garlic looks a lot like green onions or scallions, and can be prepared in pretty much the same way.

Wash green garlic well, as you would leeks, for dirty soil can hide in the stalks. Trim green garlic as dictated by its relative youth, or how close it was to becoming fully formed garlic. If the green part is very tender, chop the entire stalk, otherwise trim away some of the green as you might for scallions.


Polenta Tart with Green Garlic and Spinach
  • For the polenta:
  • 3/4 cup vegetable broth
  • 3/4 cup water
  • ½ cup polenta grits
  • 2 teaspoons olive oil
  • 1/8 teaspoon Real Salt
  • ¼ cup grated Parmesan or Pecorino cheese
  • For the filling:
  • 1 bunch fresh spinach , about 8 ounces, well washed, stems removed and coarsely chopped
  • 1/2 to 1 cup chopped green garlic
  • 1 tablespoon grapeseed or olive oil
  • Real Salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • About 1 teaspoon balsamic vinegar
  • 1 egg
  • 8 ounces ricotta cheese
  • ¼ cup grated Parmesan or Pecorino cheese
  • 2 teaspoons finely chopped fresh thyme leaves
  • 3 tablespoons chopped chives
  • 2 tablespoons fresh chive petals
  • Tomato sauce , optional
  1. Make the polenta:
  2. Whisk the vegetable broth, water, olive oil salt and polenta and in a microwave-proof bowl. Cover and cook on highest power for five minutes. Stir well, cover again and cook for another five minutes. Stir in the Parmesan cheese, cover and cook for two more minutes.
  3. Allow the polenta to cool a minute or so, then dollop into the lightly oiled pan of choice. While the polenta is still soft and warm, spread it around the bottom and sides of the pan with your fingers, wetting them if needed. Distribute the polenta as evenly as possible, but it can look rustic, since this is a rustic tart.
  4. Make the filling and bake the tart:
  5. Heat the grapeseed oil in a large skillet and sauté the green garlic until it is limp. Stir in the spinach and cook, stirring frequently, until the spinach has completely wilted. Sprinkle with a dash of balsamic vinegar and some salt and pepper.
  6. Preheat oven to 375 degrees F.
  7. Beat the egg and ricotta cheese in a bowl. Stir in the Parmesan cheese, the cooked garlic and spinach, thyme and chives, reserving the purple thyme blossom for garnish. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Spread the mixture into the polenta crust.
  8. Bake 30 to 35 minutes, until there are hints of golden brown in the crust and the ricotta filling. Sprinkle with the purple chive flowers and allow to cool slightly before cutting.
  9. Serve on plates with tomato sauce, if desired.


  • Another delicious recipe!

    I would love for you to link up this dish up as well 🙂 Reply · 13 June, 2012

  • Why do you use grapeseed oil to saute the spinach? Would olive oil work? Reply · 13 June, 2012

  • Olive oil would work. Just have to be careful to not let the heat get too high because the smoking point (when free radicals are released) of olive oil is about 325 degrees and that of grape seed is 425-ish, some say higher. It is a very interesting subject–cooking and eating oils. Organic, cold-pressed, expeller pressed with hexane, mono, poly, smoking point, gmo probability, omega 3s and 6s, flavor– it goes on and on. Reply · 17 June, 2012

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