Polenta is simply cornmeal, ground maize. Eaten since Roman times, a peasant staple for millenia and now experiencing something of a gastronomic renaissance. Polenta has been plucked from the paiola of the plebiscite and thrust onto the mainstream stage. If you are, at this stage, a polentas ignoramas then throw of your shackles and cook it. It's easy (cooked with water/milk/stock) in much the same way one would cook oatmeal or porridge. Once 'cooked' there is a multitude of things that can be done with it. Polenta can be used in sweet dishes and savoury, breads and cakes, for BBQs and hearty winter meals. Below I've put a couple of ways I like to use it, grilled on the barbee, or as an alternative to potato chips.
For both grilled and chips the beginning is the same:
Bring 2 cups milk & 2 cups stock to boil. Add 1 and a half cups polenta, pouring in constant stream, to liquid, stirring. Reduce heat to medium-low and, stirring constantly, allow to thicken.
Remove from heat, stir through 40g butter and a half cup of grated parmasan cheese. I like to grind in some fresh pepper at this stage too.
Pour polenta into baking-paper lined tin, allow to cool a bit, cover and refridgerate for at least 3 hours.
Remove from fridge, turn onto chopping board and slice into 1cm slices. If frying, add slices to hot oil. If baking or BBQing place onto tray, turning when golden. If I bake them I like to finish them off under grill, to get a nice colour.