To be honest, this household has recently gone through what I would call an Italian cuisine phase. We’ve been making huge pizzas from scratch (James makes the most amazing parmesan-flavoured pizza base) and cooking up delicious pasta (bucatini all’amatriciana has now become my new favourite), all because my older brother is here for a week-long visit. Having a guest in the house generates some amount of desire to cook extravagantly. But now that the culinary frenzy has died down, we’ve been left with a lot of stray Italian-inspired ingredients sitting around.
Cue savoury muffins. Cheesy and spicy savoury muffins, made extra special with gritty polenta and chunks of semi-dried tomatoes. The polenta gives these puffy muffins a pleasantly crisp exterior; the chilli, a satisfying zing (and this one is pretty zingy, trust me); the cheese, a savoury must-have; the semi-dried tomatoes, a hint of juicy sweetness. I threw in some garlic powder too, for an added kick of flavour. And you can’t go wrong with the fruity, nutty perfume of extra virgin olive oil.
They could do with a little salt, I’ll admit. Something to remember next time. But I like James’ suggestion, too: to cut them open and slather them with salted butter. That’d be nice. However, if you’re one for simpler flavours or would just like to keep everything nice and healthy, have these muffins as is. Bake them the night before for a quick breakfast pick-me-up in the morning.
Savoury Polenta & Semi-Dried Tomato Chilli-Cheese Muffins
1 cup self-raising flour
3/4 cup polenta (cornmeal)
3/4 cup grated parmesan cheese
1 teaspoon dried chilli flakes
1 teaspoon garlic powder
1 large egg, beaten
1 cup milk, cold
1/3 cup extra virgin olive oil
1/4 cup chopped semi-dried tomatoes
- Preheat oven to 180ºC and line a 12 cup muffin pan with paper cases.
- In a large bowl, combine the flour, polenta, grated cheese, chilli flakes and garlic powder. Mix well, set aside.
- In a small bowl, combine the egg, milk and olive oil. Pour mixture into the dry ingredients and stir until just combined. Gently fold in the chopped tomatoes. Make sure not to overmix the batter.
- Carefully fill each muffin case about 3/4 full. Bake for about 25 minutes, or until the tops are firm and golden.
- Remove from oven and let muffins stand in pan for about 5 minutes before transferring to a wire rack. Best eaten warm!