Polenta, basically the Italian version of grits. It’s the base for a lot foods up here in Northern Italy. Formally considered peasant food or an inexpensive way to get a hot meal in your belly. These days you can find it in fine dining all over the country. Here it is fried up with flaky sea salt and a drizzle of evoo–a perfect appetizer. Try it as a bread-like alternative for smothering bruschetta-esque toppings.
Feeling wild? Serve soft and top with mushroom sauces, cheeses, and stews.
Did you know it’s GF? Plus great for entertaining! Fried polenta and toppings can be an easy way to spice things up a little from the typical bread basket or bowl of rice since its wheat and gluten free. Buon appetito!
- 6 cups water
- 2 teaspoons salt
- 1 3/4 cups yellow cornmeal
- 3 tablespoons unsalted butter
- 2 cups olive oil, for frying
- Bring 6 cups of water to a boil in a heavy large saucepan. Add 2 teaspoons of salt. Gradually whisk in the cornmeal. Reduce the heat to low and cook until the mixture thickens and the cornmeal is tender, stirring often, about 15 minutes. Turn off the heat. Add the butter, and stir until melted.
- Lightly oil an 11 by 7-inch baking dish. Transfer the hot polenta to the prepared baking dish, spreading evenly to 3/4-inch thick. Refrigerate until cold and firm, about 2 hours.
- Heat the oil in a heavy large skillet over medium-high heat. Working in batches, fry the polenta pieces until golden brown on all sides, about 3 minutes per side. Using tongs, transfer the polenta pieces to paper towels and drain.
- Cut the polenta into wedge-like pieces or any shape you like!
- Sprinkle some sea salt on top
- Grated parmesan is amazing on them as well as some fried up sage or used as a base for bruschetta toppings whatever your heart desires.