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Epoisses Polenta Pizzas With Oil-Cured Olives And Rosemary

Epoisses Polenta Pizzas With Oil-Cured Olives And Rosemary
Kirstin Jackson for NPR

The Epoisses adds an earthy, salty flavor to this otherwise simple polenta dish. Don't be tempted to use more than the suggested amount of cheese — a little of this washed rind goes a long way. I serve this as a main course, with a green salad and walnuts. Because the polenta is somewhat soft, it is meant to be eaten with a fork. If you'd like to serve this as an appetizer or hors d'oeuvres, simply cut into smaller pieces.

Makes one 8-inch round "pizza," 3 to 4 servings

3 cups water

1 cup course, stone-ground polenta (not instant)

1/2 tablespoon salt

1 chipotle chili

2 bay leaves

1 sprig rosemary, whole

2 sprigs rosemary, chopped fine

2/3 pound oil-cured, pitted olives

5 ounces Epoisses, sliced thinly

Preheat oven to 375 degrees.

Put water, polenta and salt in a medium saucepan and whisk vigorously to break up polenta clumps. Bring to a boil, then lower to a simmer and add the chili, bay leaves and rosemary sprig. Stir frequently so polenta stays smooth and does not scorch on pan bottom. Cook for 20 minutes, or until polenta grains are soft but not mushy. While warm, pour into an 8-inch springform cake pan lined with waxed parchment paper. Remove the herbs and chili and tap pan on countertop to help smooth. Cool.

Pit olives by turning the blade of a large chef's knife so it is parallel to a cutting board, placing two or three olives underneath the blade and carefully pressing your palm down on the thickest part of the blade near the handle until the fruit breaks. Then remove the pits. Roughly chop half the olives.

On top of the cooled polenta, place a layer of the sliced Epoisses. Scatter olives and chopped rosemary over the top and heat in oven for 5 to 10 minutes, until the cheese is melted. Remove from pan and serve.

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