Crispy Polenta

Polenta is right behind risotto on my list of favorite starches, and as requested here is the recipe for the crispy polenta that we serve at the Lodge restaurant, not only as a side but as a starch on our broccolini salad. Polenta is a coarsely ground, sometimes finely ground, cornmeal that is cooked in a stock to create a porridge type dish. It has been around since the Roman times and before corn was introduced it was made from faro, spelt, chickpeas, and other starchy flours. The leftover porridge is often poured into a pan and served the next day grilled or fried.

In this recipe we use a coarse ground cornmeal that is labeled as “Polenta”, the coarser the cornmeal the longer the cooking time. I prefer to use coarse cornmeal because of the texture but as stated above you can use almost any starchy flour.

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Equipment

Whisk

A low sided and wide pot, rondo

2 pans to pour the polenta into, 9″ squares pan works well. One pan will hold the polenta and the other will act as the weight on top.

Fryer, Oil set to 350°

Small mixing bowl

Polenta For Frying

2C Cream

2C Chicken Stock

~~

1.5C Coarse Cornmeal

~~

4oz Ricotta Cheese

1T Chopped Herbs (Thyme, Parsley, Oregano)

2oz Butter, cold and cubed

TT Salt and Pepper

~~

AN Cornstarch

  • Begin by getting all of your ingredients scaled out, then combine your cream and chicken stock in a pot and place on high heat. Add salt and pepper to taste at this point.20120708-012725.jpg20120708-012735.jpg
  • Once the liquids boil, whisk in the cornmeal, immediately turn the heat down to low.20120708-012742.jpg
  • Continue to whisk until the porridge has thicken, be careful at this point as the pockets of steam will create little volcanoes that can sometimes shoot searing hot polenta at you.20120708-012748.jpg20120708-012752.jpg
  • Once thick, remove from the heat and add the remaining ingredients.
  • Continue to whisk until the butter has melted. The use cold butter allows the butter to stay emulsified, therefore it will not separate unless over heated, same theory applies when making a butter sauce or mashed potatoes.
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  • Check for seasoning.
  • Pour the polenta into your baking pan and let cool for ten minutes, no need to grease the pan, between the cream and the butter, the polenta will pop right out once cooled.20120708-012803.jpg
  • Place a piece of waxed paper or parchment paper ontop, followed by the second baking pan, pour a little water into the top pan to add some weight. The weight will make the product more dense for the purpose of frying.

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  • Place the polenta in the fridge and allow to cool overnight.
  • Once cooled remove the top baking pan and flip the polenta out on a cutting board.
  • Using a wet knife, cut the polenta into the desired shape.
  • Toss the polenta in cornstarch, the cornstarch fills in all the little gaps and protects the polenta from falling apart in the fryer.20120712-174555.jpg
  • Fry the polenta until golden brown and enjoy!

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