Wednesday, June 24, 2009


Yet another way to beat the heat-making a large batch of polenta at six AM. Wrapped tightly, it keeps for days in the fridge, and can be reheated in the microwave. I prefer mine fried in a bit of oil, but a few minutes in a pan shouldn't heat up the kitchen too terribly.

Polenta is versatile. I'm serving it with carrots, spinach, shallots and white beans-but you could easily top it with a red sauce and cheese.

Thirty minutes of cooking over very low heat on the stove will provide a generous base for many dishes throughout the week. Just make certain to use a very long spoon for stirring as the stuff has a tendency to sputter. I use the butter because it gives it an overall better texture , but you could easily skip it.

Other things I've done with polenta: HERE, HERE, HERE.

You Will Need:

6 cups water
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 cups polenta (corn grits-not corn meal)
3 tablespoons butter (optional)

Bring water and salt to a rolling boil. Stir in polenta and reduce heat to a very low simmer. Stir frequently for 30 minutes until thickened. Some of it will stick to the bottom of the pan no matter how well you stir-no worries, just soak it and it comes out easily (unless you burn it on. Then, frankly you're screwed).

Beat in the butter at the end if using it.

Butter a large casserole dish.

Tip out the polenta into dish, and let stand ten minutes. Invert onto a large plate and let stand another five minutes. When slightly cooled, transfer to fridge, uncovered on plate and chill well. Cut into 3-4 meal sized servings and wrap tightly in foil.

To fry:

Cut polenta into squares and heat a frying pan over moderate heat. Add a small amount (maybe a tablespoon) of olive oil and fry on each side until dark and crispy. The inside stays wonderfully creamy and that crunchy crust is really divine.


Lisa said...

I didn't know that about the grits not meal part. That is good advice. This is one of my husband's family favorites. I still have yet to make since it's not something I ever think about. Good idea!

Goody said...

It really is worth the effort up front for all the time it saves later on.

JK said...

I was raised on polenta aka mush. But back in the day and the part of the country we came from it was called mush. We had lots of fried mush for breakfast :-)

Goody said...

Yep, they call it that in Illinois too.

Funny how it is becoming popular again-must be part of the "recession chic" (which is pretty much how we've always lived).