Polenta crust with braised chicory

Polenta crust with braised chicory

Croste di polenta con cicoria

Simple Cooking
Alastair Hendy

My granny used to make a large maize cake to be put in the oven when she was making bread. The resulting crunchy polenta pieces, which we ate with braised chicory, were stunning, and inspired this recipe.


Quantity Ingredient
200g quick polenta
salt and pepper
olive oil
150ml boiling water

Braised chicory

Quantity Ingredient
6 tablespoons olive oil
1/2 small fresh red chilli, chopped
1 tablespoon salted capers, soaked, drained and chopped
2 garlic cloves, peeled and chopped
600g belgian chicory, roughly chopped
300ml water
1 chicken stock cube


  1. Put the polenta in a bowl, add a pinch of salt and pepper and 2 tablespoons of olive oil and mix well. Pour in the boiling water and stir to make a dough. Divide the dough into 6 pieces and shape into hamburger-sized cakes.
  2. Pour a little olive oil into a large frying pan and heat gently. Add the cakes and shallow-fry for 8 minutes on one side, until a thick crust has formed. Pour in a little more oil, turn the cakes over and repeat.
  3. Meanwhile, put the olive oil, chilli, capers and garlic in a pan and cook gently, covered, for about 3 minutes. Add the chicory and water, and crumble in the stock cube. Reduce the heat and cook, covered, until the chicory has released a lot of its juices and is tender, about 15–20 minutes.
  4. Arrange the polenta and the chicory on plates and spoon over a little of the chicory cooking juices to finish.


  • The polenta cakes are equally good eaten cold, when they become even crunchier and more biscuit-like in texture. Try serving these with some cold zucchini e fagiolini alla menta for a perfect picnic lunch.
Simple Cooking
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