Hors d’oeuvres, starters, amuses-bouche, bites, finger food—no matter what you call them, these savory fleurettes—perfect for holiday parties or any gathering—lend opulence to your holiday table. Buckwheat, with its bold characteristics, adds flavor and texture to soft and moist polenta while aromatic sun-dried tomatoes give these pretty little appetizers a lovely auburn hue.
The original recipe called for only polenta and a topping of goat cheese, but out of curiosity and preference to make these vegan, I decided to add buckwheat to mine and top them with a classic Provençal spread made with black olives, capers, and dried Black Mission figs, which add texture and a subtle sweet flavor. I hope you like them. Happy Holidays!
Buckwheat Polenta Fleurettes with Tapenade Noir à la Figure
Adapted from 50 Great Appetizers, Bite-Sized Polenta Squares
2 tablespoons olive oil
¼ cup onions, finely chopped
2¼ cup vegetable stock
¾ cup polenta
3 tablespoons buckwheat groats, toasted (or kasha, roasted buckwheat)
¼ cup oil-packed sun-dried tomatoes
1 tablespoon fresh flat-leaf parsley, minced
salt and freshly ground pepper
Lightly oil a 9-inch square baking dish.
Heat the oil in a large saucepan over medium heat. Add the onion, and sauté until translucent, about 5 minutes. Add vegetable stock and bring to a boil. Whisking constantly, gradually add the polenta and buckwheat to the stock in a fine stream. Lower the heat and cook, stirring constantly, for 10-15 minutes, or until the polenta thickens and easily comes away from the sides of the pot.
Stir in the chopped sun-dried tomatoes, parsley, and thyme, and season well with salt and pepper to taste. Pour into prepared (oiled) baking dish, smoothing the top evenly with a spatula. Set aside and allow to cool completely.
Use a 1-inch flower-shaped cookie cutter to cut the polenta. Alternatively, you can cut the polenta into 1-inch squares, circles or any shape cutter of choice.
Top each with fleurette with a small dollop of tapenade and garnish with a small piece of black fig, red bell pepper and/or caper.
Tapenade Noir à la Figue (Olive Spread with Figs)
Adapted from Saveur
Makes 2 Cups
1 cup dried Black Mission figs, finely chopped
¾ cup Kalamata olives, pitted
½ cup extra-virgin olive oil
¼ cup nonpareil capers, rinsed and drained
1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
3 cloves garlic, finely chopped
freshly ground black pepper, to taste
Combine all ingredients in a food processor and pulse until evenly chopped and combined. Transfer to a bowl, cover with plastic wrap, and store in the refrigerator for up to 1 week.
Notes: You will have plenty left over of the tapenade. Save for future use or halve the recipe.