Recipe: Wet polenta, vine tomatoes and basil

Photo by Simon Lambert.
Photo by Simon Lambert.

This dish works well throughout the year. Simply change the sweet tomatoes for mushrooms, wilted greens or even alongside a hearty stew.


Wet polenta, vine tomatoes and basil
Serves 4


12 cherry vine tomatoes (if possible get them still attached to the vine)
4 cloves garlic, sliced thinly
4 sprigs fresh thyme
pinch sea salt flakes and freshly ground pepper
2 Tbsp olive oil


375ml water
100g polenta
25g unsalted butter
30g parmesan cheese, freshly grated and more for serving

Smashed basil

1 cup fresh basil leaves
pinch salt
2 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil



Preheat oven to 200degC.

Place the tomatoes in a suitably-sized oven dish and scatter over the garlic slivers and thyme. Drizzle over the oil and season lightly with salt and freshly ground pepper.

Roast in the hot oven until the tomatoes blister and just start to split (8-10 minutes). Remove immediately from the oven and set aside.

To make the polenta, bring the water to a simmer, add a generous pinch of salt, whisk in the polenta and cook, stirring, on a low heat for 10 minutes or until the polenta comes away from the sides of the pan. Add the butter and cheese and stir vigorously. In between stirring the polenta, smash the basil by adding a pinch of salt and mashing it in a mortar until you get a coarse paste. Stir in 2 tablespoons of extra-virgin olive oil. Set aside.

To serve, place a generous spoonful of the polenta on a warm plate, place 4 roasted cherry tomatoes on top and any delicious juices. Drizzle over the smashed basil and finish with plenty of freshly grated parmesan cheese.


Alison Lambert's wet polenta, roast tomatoes and smashed basil. She will be demonstrating this dish at Saturday's Otago Farmers Market.


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