27 October 2009


In French, a ‘bouchée’ is a little mouthful. These are very tasty little mouthfuls! When I saw this recipe, I knew that I had to try it. I found it in a little book of recipes called “Petits Dîners”, published by Albums Larousse. I had to change it, of course. Not only because I always change recipes, but also because this one had the wrong proportions for polenta. It would have made corn-flavored cement.

There was a period of about 10 years where I couldn’t eat anything made with wheat. At first, I was devastated. No bagels? No pasta? No cakes? No bread? Nope. Not even gravy. No bechamel. No croissants. No biscuits.

Gradually I began to see the bright side. It was during this period that I discovered some of my favorite foods: risotto and polenta. They gave me the opportunity to eat something hearty and filling with no wheat.

Nowadays, my wheat problem has disappeared, but I’m still aware of gluten and wheat in the things I cook. I’ve recently gone back and re-labeled my posts to reflect those that are gluten free.

With things like these bouchées, though, there’s absolutely no need to feel deprived!

Bouchees of Polenta

3 heaping Tablespoons dried tomato pesto

75 g / 1/4 cup + 2 TSP polenta

150 ml / 1/2 cup milk

100 ml / 1/4 cup water

50 g / 1/2 cup freshly grated parmesan



Parmesan shavings

Preheat oven to 200 C / 400 F

  • Put the milk and the water in a small saucepan and bring to the boil. Stir the liquid while slowly pouring in the polenta. Keep stirring for about 3-4 minutes, until it’s thick and difficult to stir. Add salt, pepper, and the parmesan.

  • At this point you have to work fast. Spread half of the polenta in a flat-bottomed dish. I used a rectangular plastic refrigerator container that measured approximately 12 x 18 cm / 5 x 7 inches. Spread the dried tomato pesto over the polenta, and spread the rest of the polenta over the pesto.

  • Chill for at least 2 hours.

  • Turn out on a work surface and cut into shapes. I used a fluted round cutter approximately 2.5 cm / 1 inch in diameter. Place the bouchées carefully on a baking sheet. I used a silpat under them.

  • Top the bouchées with a bit of shaved parmesan and bake approximately 12 minutes, till starting to brown around the edges. Grind some pepper on top and serve immediately.

Makes 16 bites. Serves 4 if they like it and... well... 16 if they don’t.


  • You can put anything in the center of this--basil pesto, ground chicken, spicy sausage.

  • You can cut it into any shape you wish, or just slice it into squares or ‘finger’ shapes.


The proportions of polenta to liquid can vary a little bit on either side. If in doubt, it’s better to add more liquid, as you can cook it longer to absorb the extra. Check the directions on your polenta to make sure it’s in this range. If not, adjust the liquid to fit your polenta.

After I cut out the bouchées, there were scraps of polenta and pesto left. I put them in a skillet with a little olive oil, scrambled them, and threw some grated parmesan on top. YUM!


Hungry Dog said...

These sound delicious and look lovely!

Barbara said...

Those little mouthfuls look delightful! And I love your leftover scraps idea- browning them and adding parmesan. Yum. Also love polenta with some wild mushrooms.

Jill said...

I love polenta and these look so yummy and cute! I'm printing the recipe now! :)

Juliana said...

Oh! Such an interesting way to make the little bites :-) Yummie!

~~louise~~ said...

Bouchée, now there's a word that tingles the appetite. Yours look simply delectable.

Thanks for sharing, Kate

The Gypsy Chef said...

I love the sound of these. Yummy, I will serve these at my next class! Thanks for sharing!

Bonnie said...

These look fabulous. I'm looking forward to trying them!

Ciao Chow Linda said...

polenta in any shape or form is a winner with me. This would make a lovely appetizer.

Karine said...

They are cute and they seem delicious!

Grace said...

what a delicate and lovely little nibble! polenta seems to finally be getting the recognition it deserves, and this is a great way to shine the spotlight on it. great appetizer, kate!

Divina Pe said...

They make a really great appetizer. Very elegant.

marla (Family Fresh Cooking) said...

Excellent polenta post! Starting using it yesterday. I am going to be experimenting a lot with this versatile ingredient.