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Haitian polenta pie topped with salted smoked herring, tomato salsa and pickled shallots | tchakayiti.com

Polenta pie with salted smoked herring, tomato salsa and pickled shallots

This deconstructed polenta pie features layers of prepared cornmeal topped with cheese, prepared salted smoked herring, a salsa and shallots.


For the polenta

  • 1 cup of polenta
  • 2 cups of water
  • 1 cup of milk
  • 2-3 garlic cloves
  • 1 bay leaf
  • Salt & Pepper to taste

For the herring

  • 1 lb of salted smoked herring
  • 3 garlic cloves chopped
  • Whole peppercorn
  • 1 piment bouc chopped
  • 1 tbsp olive oil

For the tomato and tomatillo salsa

  • 1 tomato diced
  • 1 tomatillo diced
  • 2 garlic cloves chopped
  • ½ purple onion chopped
  • 2-3 lime juice
  • Salt & Pepper
  • Olive Oil

For the pickled shallots

  • Shallots thinly sliced
  • White vinegar


For the polenta

  1. In a thick bottom pan, add the water, milk and spices
  2. Incorporate the polenta and bring to a boil
  3. Lower the heat and simmer stirring frequently to keep the polenta from sticking to the bottom of the pan
  4. Once the polenta is cooked, spread it on a pie dish
  5. Set aside and let cool
  6. Top your cool polenta with the cheese
  7. Bake for about 20-30 minutes until your “pie crust” turns golden crispy
  8. Remove from oven and let cool

For the pickled shallots

  1. Thinly slice the shallots
  2. Fill a bowl with vinegar and add the shallots making sure they’re fully covered
  3. Place the bowl in a warm location until they turn a vibrant purple

For the herring

  1. Soak the herring in water for at least one hour to extract the excess salt
  2. Drain the herring and flake it (I usually do it with scissors)
  3. Heat the olive oil in a pan
  4. Add the garlic and cook until slightly golden
  5. Incorporate the herring
  6. Season with pepper
  7. Cook until the herring releases some of its water making sure not to let it fry up
  8. Finish with the piment bouc and toss
  9. Set aside to cool

For the tomato and tomatillo salsa

  1. Mix all the ingredients in a bowl and season to taste with the lime juice, salt, pepper and olive oil

Putting it all together

  1. Grab your cool polenta crust
  2. Layer it with the prepared herring
  3. Top with the tomato and tomatillo salsa
  4. Garnish with the pickled shallots and serve
  5. Enjoy as a cold bite

Recipe Notes

Since it features all those layers, I kept my herring preparation simple, omitting the ingredients that make the salsa.

I also cooked the polenta in milk to make it creamier but you can use water only should you wish to do so.

I recommend that you lay the polenta as thinly as possible for bites that are easier to enjoy.

If you don’t like too much heat, cook the whole piment bouc with the herring. That will allow it to transfer its aromas to the dish without hearing things up