Chef Elijah Safford of Aceq, in Arroyo Seco, calls this a perfect dish for the holiday season, one that’s easy to make vegan and/or gluten-free. Serve it as a snack, appetizer, side dish, or main course.
16 cups water
4 cups polenta (cornmeal)
1 teaspoon white vinegar
2 teaspoons sugar
2 teaspoons salt
1 teaspoon garlic powder
1 teaspoon onion powder
1 teaspoon smoked paprika
1 teaspoon cracked black pepper
1 teaspoon dried oregano
3 cups grated sharp cheddar cheese
Choose a few of these topping options—or some of your family’s favorites.
1 cup salsa
1 cup New Mexico green chile, roasted, peeled, seeded, and chopped
1 cup seasoned black beans, canned or homemade
1 cup sautéed onions
1 cup sautéed red bell peppers
1 cup chopped scallions
2 cups ground bison, browned
2 cups sausage or chorizo, crumbled and browned
- Bring the water to a boil in a large pot. Slowly whisk in polenta and keep a close eye on the mixture. Stir continuously with a whisk to avoid lumps. Once polenta becomes thick and pulls away from the sides of the pot (about 20 minutes), reduce heat to low and stir in all the seasonings.
- Pour polenta into a buttered 3-quart Pyrex baking pan. Spread evenly in the dish and let cool in the fridge, covered, for roughly 2 hours or until cold to the touch. Now you have the base for your tartine.
- Top with the cheese and bake in the oven at 350° until the cheese is melted and bubbly and the center of the polenta is hot, about 30 minutes.
- Add your toppings of choice, cut into squares, and serve.