Cornmeal Crunch

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. 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.

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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