Meeta’s Monthy Mingle theme for March had me a bit stumped. Savoury cakes? I wasn’t sure I had a recipe for one. I’d made a zucchini cake recently which I quite liked, but it was definitely more a sweet. On the list of contenders were a spinach and ricotta crepe cake and a savoury bread pudding. Then I chanced upon a recipe for a polenta bread (cake?) that seemed to fit the description.
Yellow-as-the-sun, the beauty of this bread, which is somewhat like a traditional cornbread (without the bacon drippings or lard) is that it is easily customised. Suggested additions include sprinkling grated parmesan over the top before baking, or you could even fold some chopped olives and grilled capsicums into the batter.
I made a few changes when I attempted this recipe, firstly omitting the rosemary and also substituting the buttermilk for the same amount of lactose-free milk with a dollop of yogurt mixed in. The resulting batter, which I poured into a loaf tin was quite runny but rose a treat in the oven. Lightly toasted slices of this loaf accompanied a tasty dinner of Coq a la Biere from Michel Roux’s Le Gavroche cookbook.
Stephanie Alexander’s Rosemary and Polenta Bread :
extra virgin olive oil
2 cups coarse polenta
2 teaspoons salt
1 teaspoon bicarbonate of soda
2 cups buttermilk
2 teaspoons freshly minced rosemary
1/4 cup cream
Preheat oven to 220’C. Brush a 24cm square x 5cm deep tin with oil and line it with baking paper. In a smaller bowl, whisk eggs, buttermilk and rosemary together. Pour buttermilk mixture into polenta and stir only until combined. Spoon batter into tin, spreading it evenly. Pour cream evenly over top and put pan into oven. Bake until a knife inserted in centre comes out dry and clean, about 20 minutes. Cool in tin for 5 minutes before turning out onto a wire rack. Serve at room temperature for a sustaining lunch or slice thinly to have with drinks. It is also good toasted.