Called cebollitas de cambray in Mexico, these spring onions (aromatic root vegetables) will often be served alongside carne asada (grilled beef). Give this mouthwatering dish a go as an accompaniment to your perfectly grilled-over-the coals meat this Braai Day.
Recipe and styling by Claire Ferrandi
Assisted by Nomvuselelo Mncube
Photograph by Dylan Swart
Bacon, ricotta and spring onion polenta-base tart
- 625ml (2½ cups) water
- 200g polenta
- 90g Parmesan, finely grated
- 1 egg
- salt, to taste
- 250g streaky bacon, finely diced
- 200g ricotta, crumbled
- 3 spring onions, sliced + extra, to garnish
- 1 x 250g tub mascarpone
- 1 garlic clove, peeled and minced
- salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
- mint leaves, to garnish
- lemon wedges, to squeeze
For the polenta base, preheat the oven to 200˚C. Grease a rectangular 35cm x 11cm loose-bottomed tart tin. Add the water to a medium-sized pot and bring to a boil. Just as the water starts boiling, add the polenta and whisk over medium heat until it becomes very thick, about 2 minutes. Remove from heat, stir in the grated Parmesan and allow to cool slightly, 5 minutes. Stir in the egg and mix well until combined. Season to taste. Set the polenta aside to cool and thicken, about 15 minutes, while making the filling.
Heat a frying pan over medium-high heat and fry the bacon until crispy, about 10 minutes. Set aside to cool. In a bowl, gently combine the crumbled ricotta, spring onion slices, mascarpone, garlic and slightly cooled bacon. Season to taste. Set aside at room temperature if serving the tart soon or cover and refrigerate for up to 2 days if making your tart filling in advance.
Returning to the polenta base, press the cooled polenta into the base and up the sides of the prepared tart tin, using your fingertips. Trim off any extra polenta that protrudes over the top of the tart tin and bake in the preheated oven, 30 – 40 minutes or until firm and lightly golden. Remove from oven and allow to cool, 30 minutes, before removing from the tin and spreading the tart filling over the base. Serve at room temperature, garnished with mint leaves and extra spring onion slices, and lemon wedges alongside for squeezing.