How to cook polenta

First of all, I’d like to briefly apologize for not posting all summer. I just married the man of my dreams, and things have been totally crazy. I’m hoping after the kitchen-upgrade that our wedding gifts afforded us is installed, things will cool off and get back to normal! I’ll put together a post with photos when I get them!

This is a quick how-to that I wrote up for some man-friends my mine who were concerned that they didn’t know how to cook polenta.

Polenta is pretty much just yellow corn grits. Really. Get something good though, don’t buy crappy cornmeal.
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Grate up a bunch of parmesan. Polenta on it’s own is kind of bland in my eyes, so I jazz it up with a strongly flavored cheese.
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The mixture is 3 cups of water to 1 cup of polenta. I doubled it. Also, toss a pat of butter in there, and a bunch of salt. Corn is bland.
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Bring it to a boil
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Then whisk the hell out of the water as you sprinkle the polenta in. Continue to whisk for a few minutes as things start to become more viscous.
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Turn the heat down to low once the mixture comes back up to a boil.
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Then cover the pot and let it cook slowly for 5ish minutes, stirring occasionally. When you start to get impatient, or think it’s done, grab a spoon, and taste a bit of the polenta. This is to see if it needs more salt (it probably does), pepper, etc.
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Then add your cheese, and additional seasonings in, stir thoroughly, pop the lid on, and let it sit til you’re ready to use it, but not too long! The polenta will solidify.
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If you want to have this “fresh” then serve and eat. If you want to turn it into fried polenta, then grease up a dish of some sort, and dump the polenta in.
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Then let the polenta cool, thoroughly. I didn’t because I was antsy and wanted to finish cooking for the night. Don’t tell.
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Turn the block of polenta out onto a cutting board and slice it up into manageable pieces. It shouldn’t have come apart like this. It hadn’t cooled properly.
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Get a plate and mix some flour with salt, pepper, and whatever other seasonings you like. I used a bit of cayenne. I bet mustard powder woulda been good.
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Roll the polenta around in the flour mixture to coat. This whole flour hoopla is unnecessary, but gives you a nicer crust than not using it.
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Then cook in some oil in a hot pan that you know will easily release things. For me, that’s my cast iron, for you, it may be a nonstick skillet. Please excuse the bits and pieces of chicken sausage.
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Turn when they start crisping up on one side, until all sides are cooked.
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Remove to a paper towel lined plate just to absorb some excess oil. To keep these crisp, pop them in a warm (200ºish) oven. They get soggy rather quickly.
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These can be eaten by themselves (yum) or with a really good sauce, like a primavera or something to that effect (double yum).
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There you have it, fried polenta, crisp and crunchy on the outside, creamy and fluffy on the inside!
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