Broccoli Upside Down Cake

This is one of Clotilde’s recipes, and very delicious it is too. I must say, when I look at the above picture, I don’t find it looks particularly appetising – I prefer my broccoli crisply steamed – but I assure you that it tastes beautiful. The polenta based cake is crisp on the bottom, and the delicious tang of cottage cheese in the mixture goes very well with the broccoli. I was also a little doubtful about the raisins, but they also go nicely with the other ingredients. It’s also very convenient to slice and take to work for lunch, which is always a bonus. I followed the recipe exactly, but shall reproduce it below for convenience’s sake.

one head of broccoli
200 g (3/4 cup) cottage cheese
125 g (1/2 cup) plain yogurt
2 eggs
1 tablespoon olive oil
1/2 cup polenta
1/2 cup wholemeal or plain flour
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
a handful of raisins
a handful of walnuts, toasted and chopped
salt, pepper

Wash the broccoli and cut it into florets. Bring some salted water to a boil in a large saucepan, add in the broccoli and let simmer for 8 minutes, until cooked but not limp. Drain and run cold water on it to stop the cooking. Set aside in a colander to drain thoroughly while you take the next steps.

Preheat the oven to 180°F (360°F). Grease a 20 cm (8-inch) cake pan, unless it’s nonstick.

In a medium mixing-bowl, whisk together the cottage cheese, yogurt, eggs and oil, and sprinkle on salt and pepper. In another medium mixing-bowl, combine the cornmeal, flour and baking powder. Fold the liquid mixture into the dry mixture until just combined (the batter will be thick). Do not overmix, it’s fine if it’s still a little lumpy.

Arrange the cooked broccoli at the bottom of the cake pan. Season with salt and pepper, and sprinkle on the walnuts and raisins. Pour the batter evenly over the broccoli, and smooth it out a bit with a spatula.

Put into the oven to bake for 30 to 40 minutes, until the top is golden and crispy. Let rest on the counter for 5 minutes. Run a knife around the pan to loosen the cornmeal crust, cover the pan with a serving plate, and flip quickly (protect your hands with a kitchen towel of course) so the cake lands, broccoli-side up, on the plate.

Cut in wedges, preferably with caution and a sharp knife, so as not to smoosh the broccoli. Serve warm, at room-temperature or cold. Reheat leftovers for ten minutes in the oven if you wish to revive the crispiness of the crust.

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