Cornmeal Crunch Recipe

This is what happens when you cook a pot of cornmeal until it is thick and creamy. Add a bit off cheese, some deeply caramelized onions, spread it in a pan, drizzle generously with olive oil and bake until the bottom and sides are deeply golden and crunchy.

Cornmeal Crunch

This is what happens when you cook a pot of cornmeal until it is thick and creamy. Add a bit off cheese, some deeply caramelized onions, spread it in a pan, drizzle generously with olive oil and bake until the bottom and sides are deeply golden and crunchy. The insides stay a tad bit melty and creamy, the caramelized onions on top add depth and sweetness.

Cornmeal Crunch Recipe

We've been doing all sorts of things with the leftovers - dunking slabs in stews, slathering pieces with goat cheese, tossing smaller cubes into salads, and (my personal favorite) topping with sauteed spinach.

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Cornmeal Crunch Recipe

I make an effort to buy whole grain cornmeal - this is cornmeal that still has the nutritious bran and germ included. You can easily make this recipe vegan by omitting the cheese.

1 1/2 cups (medium grind) cornmeal
fine grain sea salt
4 cups yellow onion, chopped (about 3 medium)
1/4 cup olive oil
1/2 cup Parmesan cheese, freshly grated
3 cups water or vegetable broth

Preheat the oven to 400F degrees, racks in the middle. Butter and flour (or line bottom with parchment paper) one 9 x 12-inch baking dish or tart pan - or roughly this size.

In a medium bowl combine the corn meal with 1 1/2 cups water and 1/2 teaspoon salt. Stir and set aside.

To caramelize the onions, heat a splash of olive oil in a large thick-bottomed skillet with a pinch or two of salt. Cook over high heat, stirring and scraping the pan occasionally - more often as the onions begin to get increasingly brown. Continue cooking until the onions collapse and turn deep brown in color. Remove from skillet and set aside.

Bring 1 1/2 cups water (or broth) to a boil in a medium saucepan, add the water and cornmeal mixture, bring back up to a boil and stir until it is thicker than a heavy frosting - about 5 minutes. Remove from heat and stir in the cheese and 2/3 of the onions. Spoon the mixture into the prepared pan, spreading it to an even thickness, and drizzle with about 3 tablespoons of olive oil. Bake for about 45 minutes, or until the bottom is golden and the cornmeal begins to pull away from the sides of the pan a bit. Serve topped with the remaining onions (and more grated cheese if you like).

Makes about 16 pieces.

If you make this recipe, I'd love to see it - tag it #101cookbooks on Instagram!

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The words "onion" and "cheese" in this recipe invoke in me a sudden craving for French Onion Soup...yumm...


Nancy_Dancehall- Try keeping the heat lower than you usually do and add water if things start to get dry.


I'm about to go gluten free for the first time and this recipe makes me so happy! This is the kind of carb-y comfort food thing I feel like I'm giving up. I have a feeling that I'll master this technique very quickly! Thank you!!


I make a recipe similar to this, but I use goat cheese instead. It adds a bit of "saltiness" to the dish, so you can use less of the real stuff. The goat cheese is deeeelicious!

Captain Quinoa

Can I use parmesan from a can (I know, heresy, but I have it in my pantry!). I've had a tough time finding fresh parmesan that isn't made with animal rennet. Has anyone here had better luck?


I'm salivating just reading the recipe:]


Oh, this looks terrific! I can't wait to try it. Thanks so much for another gluten free recipe.


What an interesting recipe...thank you for sharing it! It looks like a perfect, cozy fall recipe.


this looks fantastic - i've been trying to think of something yummy to make with the bag of cornmeal i have in the pantry. thanks for sharing!


It looks really delicious! Cheers, Rosa


This is a wonderful recipe. I have so enjoyed receiving emails from 101. Thank you for all the great food I have been serving my family. This Cornmeal Crunch has got to be my very favorite. I am making it for Thannksgiving Dinner.

Cindy Adams

Sounds absolutely delicious! But wait, any ideas on making this dish vegan?


This looks divine, and the leftovers would most likely make for the start of the stuffing for the seitan roast I'm planning... Cheers.


well, with the apple cake and this, i'll have a complete lunch today! ;) this looks astoundingly good! i am totally going to make this. right now.


I love the idea of this as a complement to soup/stew, or alone as a sandwichy snack. It sounds so good!


Perfect Timing! I made a giant crockpot of chili this morning and I have a feeling this will compliment it nicely. Can't wait for dinner!


This looks delicious! I think I'll be making it tonight.


Looks great! I have a tendency to burn onions when I try to caramelize them. Any tips?


I'm not sure why, but I never thought of looking for/buying whole grain cornmeal. I will definitely find some now. This recipe looks very good and would compliment so many different things.


Looks great!! Gluten-free, hooray!! :-D


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