I needed some fried polenta as a garnish for a dish that also requires spinach and cod quenelles. I shall ‘assemble’ this recipe, so to speak, in three stages starting, now, with the polenta.
Polenta may not be very ‘exciting’ on its own but one can jazz it up a bit and, fried, it will add a special non-so-che (je ne sais quoi) to any dish. Here is how it’s done:
First of all, read the instructions on the packet and work out the ratio between water and polenta (i.e. how much water is required for so many grams of polenta flour). I used quick cooking polenta which takes literally about 4 minutes to cook (anything to make life easier), weighed the polenta and worked out how much water I would need and put it on the boil. I also got out a glass dish and greased it with some olive oil.
The idea is to pour the runny and still hot polenta into the greased dish as soon as it is cooked. That is 250g of polenta.
The packet probably won’t mention it but I will: add a blob of butter to the saucepan … it will make the going smoother.
Get hold of a good sturdy whisk …
Turn the heat on and pour in the hot water with your left hand, and start stirring with your right hand (and vice versa, naturally, if you are left-handed).
Whisking away with my left hand on account of having to take the photo with my right …
Once the polenta starts to thicken, you can switch to a wooden spoon and stir vigorously …
Use a spatula or other kitchen implement to flatten the polenta as much as possible so that it is ‘level’. And at this stage, all we do is wait for the polenta to cool and ‘gel’. At least one hour.
Turn the pyrex dish over so that the polenta, which is all nice and firm nowand looks like a square ‘cake’, rests on a chopping board.
And now it’s time to fry!
Careful not to burn yourself … the oil is very hot. Fry the polenta cubes until they turn golden.
Here are the fried polenta cubes, draining off their excess oil. With a sprinkle of salt and pepper, they would be nice to eat as nibbles just as they are. But I am going to use them for something else. Read the next post!