Olive, anchovy and onion cornbread tart

Olive, anchovy and onion cornbread tart

The Sunday Night Book
Patricia Niven

This hybrid of a savoury tarte tatin and a pizza uses cornbread instead of pastry or yeasted dough as its base, so it’s a breeze to put together, quick to cook and very possible even on days when the fridge is looking stark and the storecupboard is your only hope. One of the great joys of cornbread is that you can keep it simple or perk it up with some parmesan and spring onions. The best thing to make this tart in is a frying pan with a metal handle so you can put it in the oven.


Quantity Ingredient
4 red onions
1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar
pinch chilli flakes
2 1/2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
1 x 50g tin of anchovies
3 tablespoons marinated black olives, pitted
1 tablespoon capers
sea salt
black pepper

For the cornbread

Quantity Ingredient
40g plain flour
1 1/4 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon bicarbonate of soda
150g fine polenta
2 teaspoons soft brown sugar
1/2 teaspoon smoked paprika
2 eggs
120ml milk or plain yoghurt
15g butter, melted
45ml sunflower or grapeseed oil
35g freshly grated parmesan, (optional)
2 spring onions, trimmed and finely sliced, (optional)


  1. Preheat the oven to 180°C.
  2. Peel the onions and cut them in half and then into wedges, letting the layers fall apart if they want to. Put the onions in a roasting tin or baking dish, add the balsamic vinegar, chilli flakes, 2 tablespoons olive oil and a generous pinch of salt and toss everything together. Cover with foil and cook for about 15 minutes until the onions are soft and sweet, stirring them a couple of times so they don’t stick or burn and adding a few splashes of water if they start to look dry and crunchy. Remove the foil and return to the oven for another 5 minutes to let the onions absorb any liquid and brown a little.
  3. Meanwhile, for the cornbread, sift the flour, baking powder and bicarbonate of soda together into a bowl, then stir in the polenta, sugar, paprika and 3/4 teaspoon of salt. In another bowl, whisk together the eggs, milk or yoghurt, butter and oil – now is also the time to stir in the parmesan and spring onions, if using.
  4. When the onions are done, remove them and turn the oven up to 200°C. Oil the base of a 20 cm ovenproof frying pan or similar with the remaining 1/2 tablespoon olive oil. Arrange the anchovies in a diamond-shaped grid pattern all over the base of the pan, then place an olive in the centre of each diamond and scatter over the capers. Put the pan over a low heat, and when it is warm, cover the anchovies, olives and capers with a layer of onions, using a spoon to gently spread them out without disturbing the anchovies. Remove from the heat.
  5. To finish the cornbread, add the wet ingredients to the dry and stir until just amalgamated – take care not to over-mix. Pour the batter into the hot pan and cook in the oven for 20 minutes or until a skewer or thin knife blade inserted into the centre comes out clean.
  6. Leave the tart to rest for a few minutes before carefully inverting onto a serving plate. Serve warm.
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