Polenta Pizza with Mushrooms, Kale, Cherry Tomatoes and Baked Eggs Polenta Pizza with Mushrooms, Kale, Cherry Tomatoes and Baked Eggs

Me and pizza go way back.  My first job was at a pizza parlor, many of my favorite restaurants have been pizza places, and I’ve traveled fairly extensively in pursuit of amazing pizza.  And now I eat gluten free.  Sometimes there is a small hole in my heart where pizza should be.

I have experimented with gluten free pizza crusts, both my own and store-bought.  Nothing has really filled the void.  I’m still working on it.

Polenta pizza is its own thing.  It’s not trying to be regular chewy-crust pizza.  It’s just plain delicious in its own right, and yet it satisfies that craving for something pizza-like: savory, comforting, cheesy, and with the right ratio of crust to toppings.  And frankly polenta pizza crust is way easier than making your own regular or gluten-free pizza crust, so it’s really a win-win.

Feel free to experiment with whatever toppings you like.  Polenta pairs beautifully with a traditional tomato sauce.

Polenta Pizza with Cherry Tomatoes, Kale and Mushrooms

Total Prep Time: 50 minutes
Active Time: 30 minutes
Serves:  4

Ingredients
1 cup coarse corn meal (aka polenta)
½ cup whole milk, optional (can sub water)
16 ounces fresh sliced mushrooms (baby bella, shiitake, oyster, etc)
5 large kale leaves, thick stems removed and minced
4 ounces pepper jack cheese, shredded (or sub any mild white cheese or vegan cheese)
1 cup cherry tomatoes, sliced in half
4 eggs, optional
Extra virgin olive oil (EVOO), sea salt, freshly cracked black pepper

Directions

  1. Pre-heat your oven to 375 degrees and either grease a large baking sheet with a little EVOO or cover with a piece of parchment paper.
  2. Place 2 ½ cups of water in a medium saucepan, add the milk (or sub water), 3/4 tsp of salt, 1 tsp minced garlic, and bring to a simmer.  While whisking constantly add the corn meal in a slow stream.  Whisk until all lumps are gone and the cornmeal begins to thicken.  Cook the cornmeal on a low simmer for 5 minutes and then remove from the heat.  Spread the polenta with a spatula (you might have to grease the spatula with a little oil) into a pizza crust shape on the cookie sheet/parchment paper.  The crust should be about ½ inch thick.  It doesn’t have to be perfect.  Bake the crust for 25 minutes.
  3. While the crust is baking place a large saute pan over medium-low heat.  Saute the mushrooms in a little EVOO until they release their moisture and have lightly caramelized, about 8 minutes.  Season them with a little salt and pepper while they’re cooking and stir regularly.
  4. Add the minced kale and a little more EVOO if necessary.  Cook until the kale wilts, stirring regularly, about 3 more minutes.
  5. Remove the crust from the oven when it’s done and drizzle it with a little EVOO – brush the oil across the top of the crust if you have a pastry brush.  Add the mushroom and kale mixture, the shredded cheese, and finally the cherry tomatoes to the pizza.  Sprinkle the whole thing with a little salt and pepper.
  6. Optional: make 4 wells in the toppings and carefully pour an egg into each well (crack them into a small bowl first).
  7. Bake the pizza for about 20 minutes until the cheese has melted and the eggs have set, if using.

Eat Happy!