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.
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.