16 February 2010

Polenta - provala!!

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: 

  1. 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. 

  2. 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. 

  3. Pour polenta into baking-paper lined tin, allow to cool a bit, cover and refridgerate for at least 3 hours. 

  4. 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. 

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