I absolutely love pot lucks. Any chance I get to cook a vegan dish and, if I'm lucky, open up a dialogue about food makes me a happy camper!
Unfortunately, since law school I have had markedly less time to cook creative pot luck dishes and even less time to photograph and blog them when I do.
Fortunately, this dish is so simple I had time to make it and blog it too!
I have made a dish similar to this one before and it goes SO FAST at pot lucks! Faster than many of the more intensive or (what I think are) prettier dishes (see: cupcakes!!) and I always get great feedback for it.
Extra Bonus: It is soy and gluten free so it's great fun for friends with all kinds of allergies. Fun for everyone!
It goes a little somethin' like this:
Oven Roasted Polenta with Caramelized Onions
Serves 8 or so as a potluck dish
- 1 "log" pre-formed polenta
- 2 large sweet onions (diced)
- 2 tbsp olive oil
- 1 handful whole basil leaves
Preheat the oven to 425 degrees.
Cut the polenta into 1/8 inch disks.
Coat a large, rectangular baking dish with oil.
Spread the polenta disks out evenly across the bottom of the baking dish.
Put 1 Tbsp of olive oil in a shallow bowl and, using a BBQ brush or similar spreader-tool, evenly coat the tops of the polenta with olive oil and then pop in the oven for about 35-40 minutes or until golden and just crispy.
In the meantime, heat the remaining Tbsp of olive oil (you may need more depending on the type of pan you are using) in a large skillet. Toss in the onions and, over medium heat, begin to caramelize them, stirring occasionally.
It will take at minimum 30 minutes to truly caramelize your onions. I caramelized mine for close to an hour while I did other things. Just keep an eye on them and they will continue to release their delicious and delicate sugars.
This dish will not be as tasty if you don't fully caramelize your onions so don't skimp on this!
Usually when I say caramelize I actually mean soften or brown but this time I really mean it!
Caramelize them fully. You won't regret it. They are so so flavorful and I a lot of people don't have the chance to eat fully caramelized onions simply because of the time commitment required.
They will be a hit, I promise.
Anyway, as soon as your onions and polenta are done, pull the polenta out of the oven and spread the onions evenly over the top.
If you are serving the dish immediately, top with fresh basil leaves and serve.
If not, cover the baking dish with tin foil and bring the basil leaves along with you. Right before you serve, top with basil leaves so they have less chance to brown (fast temperature changes brown basil up fast).
Finally, be prepared to be a hit!!
Live long and prosper! And use potlucks as a chance to inspire.