Polenta Cake With Rapini and Chicory

These delectable polenta cakes are crispy on the outside and creamy on the inside.

Polenta Cake With Rapini and Chicory

Cime di Rapa e Cicoria Belga Con Crosta di Polenta

Cime di rapa, also known as rapini, isn’t a broccoli but actually a member of the brassica family of vegetables, which includes Chinese cabbage and turnips. For this recipe, though, broccoli or broccolini are good substitutes if you can’t find rapini in your area.

Makes four to six servings
Prep time: 15 minutes
Cook time: 40 minutes


  • 5 tbs. extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 garlic clove, finely sliced
  • 3 cups rapini, broccoli-like tops only
  • 1 lb. (about 2 cups) Belgian chicory, heads cut in half
  • A few salted capers, soaked for five minutes and then rinsed thoroughly
  • 1 small chili, finely sliced
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper

Polenta Crust

  • 2 cups fine instant polenta (instant cornmeal)
  • Salt
  • 6 tbs. extra-virgin olive oil


•  To start cooking the vegetables, heat the olive oil over medium heat in a large saucepan and lightly sauté the garlic. Add the rapini tops, chicory, capers, and 1/4 cup water, then cover with a lid and cook until tender, about 10 to 15 minutes. Add the chili and salt and pepper to taste, and gently simmer for 10 minutes.

•  To make the polenta cake, place the instant polenta in a bowl and add 1 cup hot water, along with some salt and 3 tablespoons of the olive oil. Mix well. Flatten with your hand into one large cake about the thickness of a hamburger.

•  Fry in a suitably sized frying pan over medium heat in the remaining oil until both sides are darkish brown and form a crust (about eight minutes per side).

•  Cut the polenta cake into wedges and serve topped with the vegetables.

Tip: Can’t find chicory? Try endive, escarole, or frisée lettuce, which all offer a slightly bitter flavor and a nice crunch.

Recipes excerpted with permission from Vegetables by Antonio Carlucci, published by Quadrille. Copyright © 2016 by Antonio Carluccio.

Why No Numbers?

Readers sometimes ask us why we don’t publish nutrition information with our recipes. We believe that (barring specific medical advice to the contrary) if you’re eating primarily whole, healthy foods — an array of sustainably raised vegetables, fruits, nuts, seeds, legumes, meats, fish, eggs, whole-kernel grains, and healthy fats and oils — you probably don’t need to stress about the numbers. We prefer to focus on food quality and trust our bodies to tell us what we need. — The Editors

Photography by Laura Edwards

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