This is one of my favorite quick appetizers for entertaining – the recipe is very simple, yet looks and tastes like an elegant bite.


1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
2 garlic cloves, thinly sliced
1 red bell pepper, roasted and peeled
1 tablespoon chopped fresh basil, plus additional tiny leaves for garnish
1 teaspoon balsamic vinegar
1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
2 tablespoons fresh bread crumbs
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
1 pound tube prepared polenta
2 teaspoons extra-virgin olive oil
3 tablespoons freshly grated Parmigiano-Reggiano


Step 1
Heat the olive oil in a skillet over medium heat. Add the garlic and cook just until sizzling and fragrant, about 1 minute. Add the pepper to the oil and remove from heat; transfer pepper mixture to food processor work bowl along with basil, vinegar, cayenne and bread crumbs. Puree until smooth and season to taste with salt and pepper.\r\n

Step 2
Heat oven to 450 degrees. Slice polenta into 1/2-inch thick rounds and arrange on parchment-lined baking sheet. Drizzle 2 teaspoons oil over the rounds and sprinkle with the cheese. Bake until golden brown, 12 - 15 minutes.

Step 3
Serve warm topped with about 1/2 teaspoon of red pepper rouille and a basil leaf.