Wednesday, August 26, 2015

Creamy and Cheesy Polenta!

Polenta Cake with Prosciutto, the most perfect soft boiled egg and homemade Pesto

This stuff just makes me happy. It's creamy, warm, comforting. A really yummy alternative to rice. I like to add flavor to this otherwise bland cornmeal with lots and lots of cheese!

So everyone always gets confused with Polenta. What exactly is it? Is it the same as Grits? Well, here's my understanding- both Polenta and Grits are made from dried corn that's ground into coarse bits, aka cornmeal. Some think that the difference lies in geography- Polenta is the Italian version made from yellow corn, while Grits are the Southern carb made from white corn. But really, the two are made from very different types of corn, some say they're unalike in grind (coarse vs fine), and lastly, taste and texture varies from person to person.

For me, hell, I'll eat both! Southern fried shrimp and grits or a nice polenta with the most tender piece of short rib laid on top....yes please! I don't discriminate!

Alright, now you know exactly what you're cooking, here's the recipe below. Just a little note, though. Make Polenta when you have a good hour on your hands. It takes about 45 minutes for the Polenta to come full circle. You'll think you're done at the 20 minute mark, and it'll look ready, but give it a little more time and love, and it will be amazing.

As far as Polenta cakes go, it's easy. Pour your leftover polenta in a large pyrex, so it makes a flat 1/2 inch thick layer. Cover with plastic wrap, stick in the fridge overnight. The next morning for breakfast your polenta has transformed! Cut your polenta into different shapes (squares, circles, triangles), pour a little EVOO in the frying pan, and fry them up til they're golden brown and crispy! I've dreamt about what you can top these babies with. Instead of avocado toast, well, here you got Avocado Polenta Cakes! Or what I've done recently- topped it with Caprese and Balsamic Glaze or a slice of Prosciutto, a soft boiled egg and homemade Pesto. Both were flavorful and satisfying. The possibilities are endless!

What you'll need:
serves 6
Difficulty level: Medium to easy

1 cup Polenta (like Golden Pheasant brand)
4 cups of water
1/2 cup milk or half and half
1 tsp salt
2 tbsp salted butter
1 cup grated Parmesan


1. Pour about a 1/2 cup milk or half and half into a cup and let it come to room temp. Set aside for later.
2. In a large pot, bring 4 cups of water to a boil.
3. Once you have a rolling boil, add in 1 tsp salt and pour in your Polenta. Stir.
4. Keep stirring and lower heat to medium.
5. After about 15-20 mins, it should be thickened well. You'll think it's done. Don't stop here! Keep going!
6. At about the 30 minute mark, add in your milk that's at room temp, the butter, and the grated parm. Stir and combine well.
7. In about 10 minutes, your creamy cheesy Polenta will be ready to eat!

For me, this recipe was all about timing. I knew it would take about 40-45 minutes to come together. It was delicious- everything that I had expected!

I served mine with a pan fried, succulent and tender Salmon fillet and some roasted Asparagus. The next day I grilled some Polenta Cakes for breakfast. It was the perfect carry over food. Easy to prepare and you can top it with pretty much anything......even more cheese!

For the Caprese Polenta Cake, I bought a pre-sliced Mozzarella log, some Roma tomatoes, Basil and my trusty Trader Joe Balsamic Glaze, and just put it all together on top of the cake!

1 comment:

  1. As a cook, this look like something I would love to try. Your presentation makes the dish look extra special.