Red onion polenta tatin

A mouth watering tart from Caroline Waldegrave: delicious caramelised red onions, grilled peppers, capers and anchovies on a tasty polenta base
Red onion polenta tatin
  • Rating:
  • Serves: 4-6
  • Cook Time: 1 hour 15 minutes
  • Prep Time: 35 minutes plus chilling pastry
  • Effort: medium



  • 55 g butter
  • 900 g red onions, thinly sliced
  • 2 clove garlic, crushed
  • 2 tbsp white wine
  • ½ tbsp rosemary, chopped
  • 1 tbsp light brown sugar
  • 3 large red peppers, quartered, cored and deseeded
  • 1 tbsp capers, rinsed and drained
  • 4 anchovy fillets, cut into slivers

For the polenta pastry:

  • 170 g plain flour
  • a pinch of salt
  • 85 g polenta
  • 140 g butter, cut into small pieces
  • 30 g parmesan, freshly grated
  • 1 egg, beaten


1. First make the polenta pastry. Sift the flour, salt and polenta into a large bowl. Rub in the butter until the mixture resembles breadcrumbs. Add the Parmesan and enough of the egg to bind to a dough.

2. Roll into a circle 1cm thick to fit the top of a 25cm frying pan. Transfer to a tray or large plate, cover with cling film and chill in the fridge.

3. Preheat the oven to 190°C/gas 5.

4. To make the topping melt 30g of the butter in a large heavy-based frying pan over medium-low heat. Add the onions and cook, covered for 15 minutes, until they begin to soften. Add the wine, garlic, rosemary and half the sugar and cook for 20 minutes. Turn up the heat and reduce, by boiling rapidly, until the liquid has evaporated and the onions start to fry. Turn on to a plate and cool.

5. Preheat the grill to its highest setting. Grill the peppers, skin side uppermost, until the skin is black and blistered. Place in a plastic bag to cool. The steam will help loosen the skin.

6. Melt the remaining butter in a non-stick 25cm frying pan. Stir in the remaining sugar and remove from the heat.

7. Peel the peppers and arrange in the pan in a daisy pattern. Place the capers and anchovies between the peppers, then cover with the cooked onions, taking care not to dislodge the peppers.

8. Place the pan over a high heat until the butter and the sugar start to caramelise, which may take 5 minutes. Remove the pan from the heat and place it on a baking sheet.

9. Lay the polenta pastry on top of the onions and press down lightly. Bake for 25 minutes.

10. Allow to cool slightly, then invert the pan over a serving plate and serve warm.

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