Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Experimenting with Polenta

I remember falling in love with Polenta the first time I tried it. Something about Polenta is just so different from any other dish. I think its flavor is one of the most comforting flavors out there. Until now, I’ve always just bought it in the prepared logs and fried it and topped it with a sauce (Usually, a spinach and cheese sauce! Mmmm). However, I’ve been wanting for a while to try to make Polenta from the dried cornmeal. Since it’s been cold around Davis lately, I decided that it was a perfect week to make one of my favorite comfort foods.

Parmesan Polenta with Eggs and Tomato Sauce

For the Polenta:
1 Cup instant Polenta (this will yield leftover Polenta which can be used in my next recipe)
3/4 Cup Parmesan
4 Tablespoons butter
For the Tomato Sauce and Eggs:
Olive oil
1 Onion
3 Cloves of garlic
15 Ounce can of Italian tomatoes or diced tomatoes
Salt and freshly ground pepper
2 Tablespoons chopped basil
4 eggs

Start the water boiling for the Polenta. When it comes to a boil, add the salt and the Polenta. Stir continuously until it thickens. This should take about 3 minutes. Once it has thickened, add the butter and let it melt. Then add the Parmesan.
Meanwhile, heat up the olive oil in a large skillet and chop the onions. Add the chopped onions to the oil and then mince in the garlic. Once the onions start to soften, add the tomatoes, salt and pepper. Let it all come together for about 5 minutes then add the basil.
Move the tomato mixture to one side of the large pan and then crack the eggs onto the empty side of the pan, without breaking the yolks. Top with salt and pepper and cover with a lid. Check the eggs every few minutes until the yolk is the consistency that you like. I like mine to be runny but for all of the whites to be well cooked (covering it with a lid helps ensure that the whites won't be runny).
Once all of the components are ready, spoon some Polenta into a bowl and top with the tomatoes and a couple eggs and extra parmesan if you want.
Take the leftover Polenta from and place it into a greased 8x8 pan. Place in the refrigerator over night to allow it to set up for future use.

A perfect meal for a cold, rainy day! I made this for my friend, Melanie, while we were "studying". Much better than reading a textbook. Much better.

Rosemary and Parmesan Polenta Chips

I saw Giada make these on the Food Network a few years ago and I have wanted to make them ever since. I searched for the recipe, but with no luck, so I decided to just experiment a bit on my own.

Left over Polenta (You could make Polenta just for this purpose if you don’t want to make the previous dish. Just follow the directions on the back of the bag to make the Polenta and then put it in a pan and chill it till it is set.)
Olive oil
Rosemary to taste
Freshly grated parmesan to taste
Salt and pepper to taste

Take the left over Polenta and gently turn it out of the pan. You may need to urge it a bit by taking a spatula or a knife along the edges. Cut the Polenta up into 2cm x 1.5 inch pieces…approximately. Heat up enough oil in a pan so that it will cover the Polenta slices. To place the Polenta strips in the oil, place them onto a spatula and then lower them into the oil. There is a lot of moisture in Polenta so it will spit out a lot of hot oil. A thorough clean up will be necessary afterward. Let the Polenta strips fry for about five minutes or until they start to become golden brown. When they are ready, take them out and place them on a paper towel to drain some of the oil. Top with rosemary, parmesan, salt and pepper while the Polenta is still hot. Continue frying in batches until all of the Polenta is used.

My roommates and I could not stop eating these! I could barely make them as fast as we were devouring them. They are reminiscent of french fries but so much better! Experiment with the toppings to find what flavors work for you.


  1. Yummm :)

    I loved those polenta chips. Can you make some for me right now?

  2. Guess what you have to make when you come home next time...

  3. Ok, hungry!!!! And I would soooo make both of these. : )

  4. Hey, I just bought polenta! Yesterday! Serendipity. Thanks for the recipes. I'm starved.

  5. My mum made the chips once. I think that this is the recipe she used: http://www.seriouslygood.co.nz/recipe1.php