I do not know a lot of Italian women, however I will probably attest that their arms must be super strong. Why you ask? If you have never made polenta, then you will quickly realize how much arm strength it takes to continuously stir the ground cornmeal until it has a creamy texture.
If you have never made polenta, it is basically ground cornmeal, made into something like creamy potatoes but with some texture. Normally you might see polenta served with some great mushroom sauce, or served with some protein, however I wanted to do something a bit different with the polenta. I added some simple flavor to it, molded it and placed it in the refrigerator overnight. Once the polenta sets, it forms a great solid cake if you will, that can be cut into shapes and either cooked on the grill, or fried, which is the route I took.
- 9 cups of water
- 3 cups of polenta
- salt to taste
- 6 tbsp chipotle salsa
- 2 tbsp grated parmesan cheese
- canola oil
Simple ingredients. Begin by bringing your water to a boil. Psych yourself up as you are going to be stirring the polenta for about 25 minutes. Seriously. Slowly pour in the three cups polenta, reduce the heat to medium, and begin to stir with a large wooden spoon. Stir in the same direction, rotating your arms if need be. Stir, and keep stirring. About half way through, add in the chipotle salsa, salt, and parmesan cheese. Stir some more.
When the polenta is nice and creamy, roughly 20-25 minutes in, pour into a casserole dish and let cool to room temperature. Once cooled, place plastic wrap over it and place it in the refrigerator overnight.
When you are ready to make the fried polenta, cut a segment out of the dish, cut into strips, much like a thick french fry. Dust the strips with flour. Heat up the oil to about 350 degrees. Once ready, add in a few of the polenta strips at a time, cooking until a nice golden brown. Remove from the oil and let drain on some paper towel. Sprinkle a bit of salt on them. Repeat the process with the remaining polenta strips.
When I served these on the table, my boys had a high level of curiosity. I knew they were hungry and that this was a great opportunity for them to try something new. My youngest son quickly dug in, realized that it was not a french fry, but loved it. My oldest who is a hard one to sell, tried a bite and actually liked it as well. My wife and I like them a lot. A lightly crisp coating and a soft and cream inside made these great to serve any day of the week.
Serve with a garlic rosemary aioli.
- 1/2 cup of prepared mayonnaise
- 1 tbsp dijon mustard
- 1 clove of garlic, mashed into a paste
- pinch of salt
- pinch of pepper
- 1 tbsp fresh rosemary, finely chopped
- Juice of 1/2 a lemon
Mix and combine, setting aside in the refrigerator until you are ready to use.