Fried Polenta Frittata With Cherry Tomato Sauce Recipe

Frittata is renowned for its ease of preparation and versatility, and it has become a delicious canvas for transforming leftover cheese, vegetables, or meats. What's more, all of the ingredients are combined and baked in the oven for less hands-on cooking time. In this dish, recipe developer Tess Le Moing fries leftover polenta in a non-stick pan until it's nicely charred before it's baked with the eggs. The dish is served with a quick homemade tomato sauce and pesto to elevate this simple frittata.

Ready in 40 minutes, this dish is great presented as a brunch centerpiece or perfect for a light meal served with a side salad. Leftovers can be easily stored in the refrigerator wrapped in aluminum foil or stored in an airtight container for up to 3 days. When you're ready to enjoy it again, a quick reheat in a 250-degree oven or 2 minutes in the microwave restores the creamy interior, ensuring that every bite remains as delightful as the first.

Gather the ingredients for the fried polenta frittata

Begin by whisking 4 large eggs with grated Parmesan cheese, a splash of half-and-half or milk, salt, and pepper. The water in the half-and-half creates steam that makes the eggs puff in the oven while the fat keeps the frittata moist and tender. We use store-bought, tubed polenta for ease, quick prep time, and beautiful presentation. Feel free to use leftover polenta, slicing it into cubes and frying them in the pan until crisp and golden on the outside and creamy on the inside. Then, for a quick and simple cherry tomato sauce, you'll need cherry tomatoes, shallots, optional crushed red peppers for a kick of heat, and sweet balsamic vinegar. To elevate the presentation, Le Moing suggests serving the frittata alongside a dollop of store-bought or homemade pesto as a nod to Italy's classic flag colors. 

Step 1: Prepare the oven

Heat oven to 375 degrees and adjust an oven rack to upper-middle position.

Step 2: Prepare the egg mixture

Whisk eggs, Parmesan, half-and-half, salt, and pepper together in a bowl; set aside.

Step 3: Heat the oil

Make the cherry tomato sauce: Heat ½ tablespoon olive oil in an 8-inch, oven-safe skillet over medium-high heat.

Step 4: Add the tomato sauce ingredients

Add the cherry tomatoes, shallot, red pepper flakes (if using), salt, and pepper.

Step 5: Cook the sauce

Cook until the tomatoes release their juices and just begin to break down.

Step 6: Transfer the sauce to a bowl

Transfer the tomato sauce to a bowl, stir in balsamic vinegar, and set aside.

Step 7: Slice the polenta

Slice the polenta into ½-inch-thick rounds.

Step 8: Brush the polenta with olive oil

Brush olive oil onto both sides of the polenta rounds.

Step 9: Heat a skillet or griddle

Heat a cast-iron skillet or a griddle over medium-high heat.

Step 10: Fry the polenta

Once the skillet is hot, add the polenta rounds in batches and cook for 3 minutes on each side, until golden and crispy.

Step 11: Transfer the fried polenta to a skillet

Transfer the fried polenta rounds to the skillet used to make the cherry tomato sauce.

Step 12: Arrange the polenta in a circle

Layer the fried polenta in a circular pattern until the pan is entirely filled.

Step 13: Add the egg mixture

Pour over the egg mixture.

Step 14: Bake the frittata

Transfer the skillet to the oven and bake until the frittata is just set in the center, about 20 minutes.

Step 15: Broil the frittata

Broil the frittata for 1–2 minutes, until nicely browned.

Step 16: Serve with tomato sauce and pesto

Serve with cherry tomato sauce and pesto.

Can I bake or air fry the polenta instead of pan-frying it?

If you prefer a different cooking method for your polenta rounds, both baking and air frying are fantastic alternatives to pan-frying. To bake the polenta rounds, simply preheat your oven to 400 F and line a baking sheet with parchment paper for easy cleanup. Cut the polenta into ½-inch-thick rounds and arrange them in a single layer on the prepared baking sheet. Lightly brush both sides of the rounds with oil to promote browning and enhance flavor. Allow them to bake in the preheated oven until lightly golden around the edges, about 20 minutes. 

For those who prefer the convenience and efficiency of air frying, cooking the polenta this way is a breeze! Spray or brush the polenta rounds with oil then, cook them in the air fryer at 375 degrees for about 20 minutes, or until they reach your desired level of golden perfection.

Can I make or use my own polenta for this frittata recipe?

Making your own polenta for this frittata recipe is a great option for those who want to customize the flavors or use up leftover polenta. To achieve a tube shape reminiscent of store-bought polenta, you can easily achieve this by lining clean cans or drinking glasses with plastic wrap and spraying the inside with oil. Carefully spoon the freshly made polenta into the lined containers, using the excess plastic wrap to cover the top. Refrigerate for at least 3 hours or overnight for optimal results. 

Once the polenta has fully set, you can slice the log into rounds. If your leftover cooked polenta is stored in a regular resealable plastic tub, you can cut it into cubes and save yourself an extra dish to wash. Simply pan-fry the cubes directly in the skillet that you'll use to bake your frittata. Once all of the cubes are nicely browned, pour the egg mixture on top and bake! 

Fried Polenta Frittata With Cherry Tomato Sauce Recipe
5 from 14 ratings
This creamy, simply prepared frittata is bolstered by a rich cherry tomato sauce, and it's also a creative and hearty way to use up leftover polenta.
Prep Time
10
minutes
Cook Time
30
minutes
Servings
3
slices
fried polenta frittata in a skillet with tomato sauce
Total time: 40 minutes
Ingredients
  • For the frittata
  • 4 large eggs
  • ¼ cup grated Parmesan cheese
  • 2 tablespoons half-and-half or whole milk
  • ½ teaspoon kosher salt
  • ¼ teaspoon ground black pepper
  • 24 ounces precooked polenta
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • ½ cup pesto, for serving
  • For the cherry tomato sauce
  • ½ tablespoon olive oil
  • 8 ounces cherry tomatoes, halved
  • 1 small shallot, peeled and thinly sliced
  • ¼ teaspoon kosher salt
  • ¼ teaspoon ground black pepper
  • 1 teaspoon balsamic vinegar
Optional Ingredients
  • ¼ teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
Directions
  1. Heat the oven to 375 degrees and adjust an oven rack to upper-middle position.
  2. Whisk eggs, Parmesan, half-and-half, salt, and pepper together in a bowl; set aside.
  3. Make the cherry tomato sauce: Heat ½ tablespoon olive oil in an 8-inch, oven-safe skillet over medium-high heat.
  4. Add the cherry tomatoes, shallot, red pepper flakes (if using), salt, and pepper.
  5. Cook until the tomatoes release their juices and just begin to break down.
  6. Transfer the tomato sauce to a bowl, stir in balsamic vinegar, and set aside.
  7. Slice the polenta into ½-inch-thick rounds.
  8. Brush olive oil onto both sides of the polenta rounds.
  9. Heat a cast-iron skillet or a griddle over medium-high heat.
  10. Once the skillet is hot, add the polenta rounds in batches and cook for 3 minutes on each side, until golden and crispy.
  11. Transfer the fried polenta rounds to the skillet used to make the cherry tomato sauce.
  12. Layer the fried polenta in a circular pattern until the pan is entirely filled.
  13. Pour over the egg mixture.
  14. Transfer the skillet to the oven and bake until the frittata is just set in the center, about 20 minutes.
  15. Broil the frittata for 1–2 minutes, until nicely browned.
  16. Serve with cherry tomato sauce and pesto.
Nutrition
Calories per Serving 1,272
Total Fat 40.2 g
Saturated Fat 8.6 g
Trans Fat 0.1 g
Cholesterol 263.5 mg
Total Carbohydrates 190.7 g
Dietary Fiber 11.0 g
Total Sugars 7.6 g
Sodium 1,077.9 mg
Protein 32.6 g
The information shown is Edamam’s estimate based on available ingredients and preparation. It should not be considered a substitute for a professional nutritionist’s advice.
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