Polenta Crostini with Sautéed Spinach and Capers Recipe - Pamela Salzman Skip to content

Polenta Crostini with Sautéed Spinach and Capers Recipe

Polenta Crostini with Sautéed Spinach | Pamela Salzman

It’s party season and I am always looking for fun, healthy eats to serve.  My favorite hors d’oeuvres are those that a just mini versions of foods I love, like these mini chicken tostadas, or these broccoli-potatoes, or my fave Brussels sprout sliders.  But sometimes making lots of bite-size foods can be time-consuming, especially if they have to be made at the last minute.

Polenta Crostini with Sautéed Spinach | Pamela Salzman

These polenta squares are not time-consuming nor are they difficult to make.  They are absolutely delicious and feel like a hearty bite of goodness.  They are substantial without being heavy or greasy.  A few squares and I feel like I stimulated my appetite, not squelched it.

Polenta Crostini with Sautéed Spinach | Pamela Salzman

I am always partial to do-ahead recipes and this is a good one.  You can make the polenta a couple days ahead and keep it refrigerated.  Cut it into squares and toast them up in the oven just before you want to serve them.  Sauteing spinach takes a minute, and is only one of the many ways you can top these squares.

Polenta Crostini with Sautéed Spinach | Pamela Salzman

Sautéed or roasted mushrooms would be amazing, as would a slow-roasted tomato half or garlicky sautéed kale.   Not something I would personally go for, but shredded brisket like from this recipe would also be terrific.  The options are endless, and I think it would be fun to offer 2-3 options with your guests.

Polenta Crostini with Sautéed Spinach | Pamela Salzman

I am keeping it short today because it’s my last few days of vacation and I’m sure you have better things to do than read a lengthy post on polenta squares.  Wishing you and yours a very happy and healthy new year!  xoxo

Polenta Crostini with Sautéed Spinach Recipe
Serves: 24 2-inch pieces
  • Polenta:
  • 4 cups water, milk or unsweetened, plain hemp milk (or a combo)
  • 1 teaspoon sea salt
  • 1 cup coarse ground polenta or corn grits
  • ½ cup grated Parmiggiano-Reggiano or Pecorino-Romano cheese (optional)
  • Topping:
  • 2 Tablespoons unrefined olive oil + more for brushing the squares
  • 2 large cloves of garlic, peeled
  • 10 ounces baby spinach leaves
  • sea salt and freshly ground pepper to taste
  • 2 Tablespoons capers, drained
  1. In a medium saucepan, bring the water (or milk) and salt to a boil. Slowly whisk in the polenta. Turn the heat to low and simmer gently for about 10-15 minutes, stirring frequently. The polenta should be smooth and creamy and the grains softened. Stir in the grated cheese, if using.
  2. Line a 11 x 8–inch baking dish with parchment paper (or a 13 x 9-inch for thinner squares.) Pour the polenta into the prepared pan and smooth the top. Cool, cover with parchment paper or plastic wrap and then refrigerate until firm, a few hours or up to overnight.
  3. Preheat the oven to 425 degrees. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper and lightly brush with olive oil. Invert the polenta onto a cutting board and cut into 24 equal squares. Brush the tops of the polenta with olive oil and transfer to the prepared baking sheet. Bake 10-15 minutes or until golden. I also like to broil them for an additional couple of minutes. Watch them carefully if you do broil them!
  4. Heat 2 Tablespoons olive oil in a large sauté pan until warm. Add the garlic and sauté until lightly browned. Remove garlic and discard. Add spinach with a sprinkle of salt and toss until wilted. Top the polenta squares with a little spinach and a few capers and serve.
I am sure you could also do this with store-bought polenta in the round tube. Just slice and bake as per the recipe.


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  1. YUM! Going to try this as a base for your Gjelina mushroom toast!!!

    • Brilliant!

  2. Hi Pamela!

    Would the polenta squares freeze well?


  3. Hi Pamela,
    Any ideas instead of the capers?

    • You don’t necessarily need anything, but I like the salty-briny flavor, plus they’re tiny. Chopped olives? Salted chopped pistachios? A thin shaving of pecorino?

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I come from a large Italian-American family with 28 first cousins (on one side of the family!) where sit-down holiday dinners for 85 people are the norm (how, you might ask – organization! But more on that later …).

Some of my fondest memories are of simple family gatherings, both large and small, with long tables of bowls and platters piled high, the laughter of my cousins echoing and the comfort of tradition warming my soul.

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