Let’s talk about polenta. Polenta – creamy, delicious, mouldable, adaptable, and totally addictive. Polenta is otherwise known as yellow cornmeal – an Italian flour. Like other flours, you will probably see it sold in varying textures: fine, medium and coarse. I usually buy coarse polenta, but it will really depend on the consistency you would like as to which you’ll purchase.
Polenta is one of the most versatile foods I know; you boil it with water (or milk or cheese if you want more flavour), then you can serve it thick and creamy or set it and bake/fry it later. You can even make cornbread, pizza, use it as a replacement for egg in cakes … the opportunities are endless. Isn’t that great! If you’re really busy, you can also buy ready made polenta that doesn’t require boiling or cooking, which is great for when you’re in a rush. This is one of my breakfast food staples.
There is elegance in simplicity. Honestly, I find polenta so filling that I can’t eat much of it – but this is one of my ultimate go-to naughtily indulgent starter dishes. Fried to perfection, they’re better tasting than chips/fries! And what could compliment crispy, melt in your mouth fries better than a plate of simple salad leaves and viola flowers?
Chunky Polenta Fries
Mouth waveringly inviting alternative to mundane potato chips
- 110g coarse polenta
- 300ml hot water
- 100ml milk (just use water if vegan)
- A generous amount of black pepper
- A generous amount of sea salt
- Sunflower oil (for frying)
- Put a slab of butter at the bottom of saucepan, add all your polenta and put the heat on full.
- Boil water in a kettle and add the water to the saucepan, and then your milk (if vegan, just use more water).
- Season with salt and pepper. If you want to add extra flavour with grated cheese, add now.
- Stir continuously while the polenta is boiling until it reaches a smooth thick consistency.
- Use a 20cm small depth cake tin and pour your polenta inside. Freeze for 30 mins to set the polenta.
- Preheat your deep fat fryer with fresh oil to highest temperature. Take your polenta out when it’s set, tip it out and cut into ‘chip’ sized slabs.
- Gently lower into the oil with a spoon, or place your chips into the frying basket and slowly lower in the oil. Fry until golden brown and crispy on the outside. You may need to turn them over in the oil to prevent them sticking to the basket. Always take caution while deep frying and make sure safety comes first.
I served with fresh green salad, sliced cucumbers, olives, radishes, and edible viola flowers. You can try chutney, dips, or as any side where you would use chips to transfer this from a starter into a full blown meal.