Project Description

Makes 30 canapés
Preparation Time: 10 minutes
Cooking Time: 25 minutes

2 cups water
1/2 cup polenta (cornmeal)
1/4 cup freshly grated parmesan cheese
2 teaspoons chopped fresh basil
2 tablespoons butter, cut into cubes
30 cooked prawns (depending on size), shelled and deveined
2 tablespoons pesto
basil leaves, to garnish (optional)

  1. Bring salted water to the boil. Lower heat to medium and slowly add polenta, whisking as you go. Continue to whisk for up to 10 minutes as the mixture thickens. (You may find it easier to use a wooden spoon.) Continue to cook, stirring occasionally, until the mixture is very thick and comes away from the side of the pan. Add parmesan, basil and butter and season to taste with salt and pepper.
  2. Pour into a tray lined with baking paper and refrigerate until set. Using a small pastry cutter, cut into circles (or use a knife to cut into squares or diamonds for less wastage) and reheat in a moderate oven, 180°C – 190°C (350°C – 375°F, Gas Mark 4), for 5 – 10 minutes or on the grill (the grill gives the best texture if you have time).
  3. Cut prawns in half, if large, and place on polenta rounds.
  4. Top with a little pesto and garnish with basil leaves.

Wine Match:  Choose a chilled sherry, good–quality sparkling wine or champagne to serve with canapés, otherwise try a chardonnay.  I developed this recipe for an Epicurean Tour, involving a tasting at the Pyrmont store of Simon Johnson, Purveyor of Quality Foods, and finishing at the Sydney Fish Markets for a cooking class using some of the ingredients we had seen. I matched it all with wine. What a day!