We were watching The Food Network a few days ago and Giada di Laurentis was cooking up some polenta that she then fried, sprinkled with parmesan cheese and served with a thickened tomato sauce. It looked really simple and seemed like something we could get our 10 year old daughter to try. First make the polentaâ€¦ in a heavy pot, boil 6 cups of water. When it reaches a rolling boil, add 2 teaspoons of salt (preferably not iodized) and then slowly drizzle 1 and Â¾ cups of polenta into the water while whisking constantly. You should drizzle the cornmeal in over about a minute in elapsed time, total. Lower the heat to medium low and keep stirring until it becomes a nice yellowish thick porridge, about 10-15 minutes, depending on your cornmeal, heat of the pan, etc. Once done, add several tablespoons of butter and its ready to serve.
To make the fried polenta, you need to do a few extra steps. First, prepare a cookie sheet with a row side and line it with foil for easy removel of the chilled polenta. Then spread the polenta flat in the pan and allow this to cool. Stick it in the refrigerator for a couple of hours until fully set. Cut the cooled polenta into â€œsticksâ€ kind of like large French fries. Heat up a small frying pan and add some olive oil about Â½ an inch or more deep. When the olive oil is hot, add the cut polenta sticks and fry for several minutes, turning to brown evenly, until a light golden color. Remove from the oil and drain on paper towels.
Sprinkle the hot polenta fries with some salt, grated parmesan cheese and serve it with a nice thickened tomato sauce. They were absolutely delicious, crunchy on the outside and still soft and chewy on the inside. The parmesan was melting onto the caramelized “skin” of the polenta fries. They had more flavor and texture than fries and would go great as a side dish to several things such as a chicken cacciatore or other saucy main courses. My daughter ate several and we now have another source of starch in the house. The recipe here is completely Ms. Di Laurentisâ€™ and I claim no addition to the original version at all. Delicious.