Griddled Polenta Cakes with Caramelized Onions, Goat Cheese, and Honey

By • December 4, 2009 • 81 Comments

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Author Notes: This recipe was inspired by one of my favorite tapas- fried goat cheese with onion jam and honey. It's a sweet little bite of deliciousness. - arielleclementinearielleclementine

Food52 Review: As we tasted this polenta – crisped in a pan and topped with caramelized onions, goat cheese and a sprinkling of honey -- we thought aloud that it would make a great first course. No, a small lunch! Or how about breakfast! We’d happily eat it all day long, and we think you would, too. You can make arielleclementine’s polenta and onions ahead of time, then just crisp the polenta and assemble the dish when you’re ready. - A&MA&M

Serves 8

For the Polenta

  • 2 cups whole milk
  • 2 cups water
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1 cup polenta
  • 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil

For the Topping

  • 1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon butter
  • 1 yellow onion, halved and sliced in 1/4" slices
  • 2 ounces goat cheese, crumbled
  • honey, to drizzle
  1. Bring the water, milk, and salt to a boil. Slowly whisk in the polenta. Turn heat to low, and continue whisking for 5 minutes, or until polenta is smooth and creamy. Spread the polenta in a 9x9 baking dish, and set aside to cool.
  2. While the polenta is setting up, add the butter and olive oil to a heavy-bottomed skillet set to medium-low heat. Add the sliced onions and a sprinkle of kosher salt, and cook, stirring occasionally until soft, golden, and caramelized- about 20-25 minutes.
  3. Pour 1 tablespoon olive oil into another skillet, set over medium heat. Using a 3" round cookie cutter, cut out circles of the firm polenta, and place in the heated skillet. Cook until slightly browned and crusty on one side, about 2 minutes, then flip and cook the other sides another two minutes.
  4. To assemble the polenta cakes, place on a plate, add one tablespoon of caramelized onions to each cake, top each with about a teaspoon of crumbled goat cheese, and drizzle with honey. Enjoy!
Jump to Comments (81)

Comments (81) Questions (6)

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Allium

6 days ago Kathie S

As delicious as it gets! Great recipe, thank you! I used goat gouda, diced into small cubes, and sheep's milk feta, because that's what I had on hand.

Stringio

4 months ago Gay Stevens

Made this tonight and it was awesome!! Kicking myself because I got in a hurry to plate it and forgot the honey! Next time! It went beautifully with the roasted quail and the salad with red wine vinaigrette!

Stringio

4 months ago Gay Stevens

Should add that I used carmelized leeks in place of the onions because I had them all sliced in the freezer.

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6 months ago Molly Norton

These were delicious, but I had a problem with the browning of the polenta. I let it sit for a while and it was plenty cool and thick and wonderful, but as soon as I got it on the skillet it started to turn more liquidy again and part of it would stick to the skillet. I used whole milk, I had plenty of butter on the pan... not sure what to do because I love the recipe. After a few, I just gave up and served the cooled, constituted polenta with the toppings (adding mushrooms that I cooked with the onions which was amazing). I am definitely going to try again though because the flavors were amazing.

Henrykiss

6 months ago arielleclementine

oh Molly, I'm sorry to hear that! so i think what happened was the extra butter in the pan- in step 3 I crisped up the polenta with olive oil. maybe butter, and lots of it, served to re-hydrate your polenta. next time a bit of olive oil in a very hot pan should help them to crisp up quickly without softening. thank you so much for trying my recipe!

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7 months ago Chrissy

This may be a silly question, but I am also a polenta novice. When we whisk it into the milk mixture, is it already-made polenta or is it just cornmeal? I feel like polenta is already smooth and creamy once it is made, so is it supposed to become more creamy when added to the milk? Thanks!

Henrykiss

7 months ago arielleclementine

not silly at all! it is just dry cornmeal when you whisk it in- a coarse ground cornmeal that is often labeled "polenta" on the package because it's the kind you use to make creamy polenta. the ground cornmeal will get soft and creamy when cooked in milk.

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8 months ago Erin.Quinn

Made this before and it was great, made it again tonight and the polenta kept sticking to the pan so it never browned because the brown part would stick and pull apart from the rest of the polenta cake. Do you think it could be because I used 2% milk instead of whole?

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7 months ago rob weaver

pan too dry, bit more butter?

Henrykiss

7 months ago arielleclementine

Sorry about that, Erin! I'm with Robweeve on this- the pan probably needed a bit more fat. This is the first recipe I ever wrote, and if I were to write it again today I'd likely griddle the cakes in a mixture of butter and oil, and more like 2-3 tablespoons, not the one I listed here. Also, a good stiff metal spatula will help. Thanks so much for cooking this recipe!

Stringio

10 months ago Ruta

We made this for Christmas dinner. It was so delicious, so easy and so elegant. We also added a rosemary fig confit which we found on Epicurious. I think I might be able to eat this every night.
Adapted from: http://www.epicurious.com...

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about 1 year ago Lynda

This is very good. I left off the onions and it was still delicious.

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almost 2 years ago Tessiewoo

Check out this polenta recipe...

http://www.youtube.com...

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almost 2 years ago Laurelb

Couldn't find polenta today so had to use the premade roll. It was ok. It not great. Used blue cheese instead of goat cheese which was a nice compliment to the beef dish I was serving. I served it as part of a meal rather than an appetizer

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over 2 years ago ihaventpoisonedyouyet

This was the best, the best, appetizer! Each aspect of it was delicious and my place smelled great. I definitely need a polenta crisping lesson, but that aside, it was easy and delicious. Got to try making this again, maybe make a few as before and a few with a little chicken chorizo and a dash of smoked paprika.

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almost 3 years ago culture_connoisseur

This is fabulous! I made it with ricotta instead of goat cheese. There was nothing left on the plate!

Henrykiss

almost 3 years ago arielleclementine

oh thank you!! love the ricotta twist! i'm making some of Jennie's homemade ricotta this week, so maybe i'll be able to try your variation! thanks for your comment :)

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almost 3 years ago ohioeric

Outstanding! Made these for a dinner party last night and they were a hit!
I used store bought polenta (labeled in the grocery store as "mush") and it couldn't have been easier!

Henrykiss

almost 3 years ago arielleclementine

oh yay! thanks ohioeric!! i've gone the store bought polentra route too and it worked beautifully. so happy you liked it :)

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almost 3 years ago Brenzo

Awesome...I didn't have goat cheese, so in keeping with the tapas theme, I substituted spicy chorizo sausage. The sweet honey and onions went great with the spicy sausage. Great texture contrast too.
Phenomenal recipe -- thanks so much!!

Henrykiss

almost 3 years ago arielleclementine

brilliant! i'm a huge chorizo fan- in fact- i just topped some latkes with chorizo! love your idea, and will definitely try it the next time i make these. i'm thrilled you liked the recipe :)

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about 3 years ago Drake Fallah

how long is the total cooking process?

Henrykiss

about 3 years ago arielleclementine

Hmm- about an hour if you multitask and caramelize the onions while the polenta is cooking and firming up.

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about 3 years ago Drake Fallah

how long would you say it takes for the polenta to firm up?

Henrykiss

about 3 years ago arielleclementine

I'd say about 10-20 minutes

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over 3 years ago elisa

I made this as an appetizer for a intimate dinner party and everyone loved it. I thought that it was perfect. The crispiness of the polenta with the caramelized onions and goat cheese was fabulous, but adding the honey as the finishing touch, is genius! It's the element of surprise that brings it over the top! So delicious.

Henrykiss

over 3 years ago arielleclementine

yay elisa! thank you so much- i'm so pleased that you liked it!

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about 4 years ago enbe

Made this for an appetizer "showcase" party last night and it was a hit! I cut the polenta so I could make it into bite-sized squares. It was definitely not as nice looking as cookie cutters but it did the trick! It was quite easy, too, except for waiting for the polenta to set when I was already running late. I loved the tang of goat cheese paired with the sweet honey on top of the deliciously creamy polenta.
Thanks so much for this recipe!

Henrykiss

about 4 years ago arielleclementine

thanks, enbe! what a lovely compliment! your party sounds super awesome too :)

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over 4 years ago deepsilver

made this last week........ OMG! so delicious and so easy. thanks for recipe.
btw- so excited I found your site... love love LOVE it!

Henrykiss

over 4 years ago arielleclementine

oh wow! thank you! i'm so happy you liked it! i'll be making a variation of this recipe this weekend, with fried green tomatoes taking the place of the polenta cakes.

Lobster_001

over 4 years ago nannydeb

I made this for my breakfast this morning and it was wonderful! What a treat!

Henrykiss

over 4 years ago arielleclementine

hooray! thanks, nannydeb!

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over 4 years ago Lucia from Madison

Finally made this recipe. Wow it was very good. It was the first time I used honey like that.
http://bit.ly/bb9NSV

Henrykiss

over 4 years ago arielleclementine

this is so fun! thank you for making and blogging about my recipe!

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over 4 years ago lbn

I liked the flavor of this a lot, but my polenta totally did not set up. I wonder what I did wrong? The instructions weren't that complicated. Anyway, I kind of just fried it up anyway even as it melted into the pan. :)

Henrykiss

over 4 years ago arielleclementine

hi lbn :) so glad you liked it! sorry your polenta didn't set up- i guess i would recommend following the directions on your polenta packaging, since there are so many varieties. some may need to cook for 20-25 minutes before they get thicker and porridge-y. mine was done after 5, so that's what i wrote in the recipe.

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over 4 years ago lbn

thanks, I'll try that! :) I'm new to polenta.... :)