Polenta

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POLENTA

Polenta Cake

Polenta; it sounds like an Italian delicacy, but it is just a mush made from cornmeal. You may be familiar with it’s American Cousin; Grits. They are both basic

ally ground cornmeal. So, don’t be intimidated to make it or eat it. You can simply prepare and serve it with a little butter, salt & pepper, or you can turn it into cakes, fries, or even croutons. It is a first course, a side dish or a breakfast food.

Polenta is a great alternative to mashed potatoes, pasta or bread. It provides the comfort you need (especially in the upcoming months of winter), and a little variety to your meal plan. It is also gluten free, so you can make a great crouton, or add it to your appetizers of hors d’oeuvres for company!

polenta

You can purchase polenta in a dry form, which is basically cornmeal. To save time, you can get it in a tube form (see photo below), which is known as Instant Polenta. This is the easiest way to make fries, croutons, or a variety of hors d’oeuvres choices. Just open the tube, make slices (or cubes, or sticks), and bake, or fry to a crispy finish.

When making traditional stovetop polenta from scratch, here are a few tips to make the process a little easier. (Thanks to www.delallo.com/ articles /polenta)

  • Polenta loses it’s flavor and becomes bitter if it is stored too long in the pantry.
  • Coarsely ground varieties make thicker polenta / finer ground makes thinner.polenta baked fries
  • Medium ground is preferable for most preparations (think Goldilocks).
  • Polenta should be cooked in water. No parmesan cheese should be added.
  • Use a pot with a very thick bottom for proper heating.
  • The ratio of flour (cornmeal) to water should be 3:1
  • Polenta can pop when it gets hot, so do not fill the pot too high.

To Prepare:

Bring a pot of salted water to a boil, then add the corn flour / cornmeal by sprinkling it over the pot (“a pioggia” in Italian, which means “like rain”). Stir with a whisk constantly, until mixed, then reduce the flame and switch to a wooden spoon and continue stirring. Cook 40-45 minutes, stirring as often as you can, then use a ladle to serve immediately.

So, while it seems to be a lot of work, if you time it to when you are preparing the rest of the meal, it can all be done at the same time. Once you get the hang of it, you will be making it all the time. Or, maybe you will just buy the instant and enjoying that!

Please check out other uses:
http://www.delallo.com/articles/polenta-humble-porridge-fine-dining
http://www.cookinglight.com/food/recipe-finder/polenta-recipes

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