Polenta is enjoying a sort of resurgence in my household. I remember eating it when I was young, but until last year I feel like we had sort of forgotten about it. I’m so glad it’s back in action in our kitchen.
I feel like I often talk about how much I love a certain ingredient featured in a recipe because of it’s versatility and polenta fits in exceptionally well in the versatile-club. (Polenta vegetable pie is a favourite at home, and I’ve been wanting to try this cake for a while…see how versatile? Yay polenta!) Seriously, I think I like these better than potato fries (but then, I don’t really like potatoes). Either way, they were a big hit.
These “fries” are so easy to adapt to different preferences in taste and texture; I’ve made them three times already but I’m excited to experiment some more. Also — cut these up into smaller pieces before you bake them, and you can have polenta croutons!! Perfect on soups, salads… I get way too excited about food…
I found the recipe on Kitchen Vignettes by Aube, and not only did I love the sound of the recipe and the beautiful photographs, but the way she fit a little bit of activism into her post about Monsanto and GMOs made my heart beat a little faster. At the time I had read the post, I was actually working on a group project for a class at school about the environmental impacts of genetically modified organisms, so it really struck a chord. If you have a couple minutes, head over to her post and watch the clip from the documentary called “The World According to Monsanto” — hopefully it gives you some food for thought.
Baked Polenta Fries
(adapted from Aube’s recipe)
2 1/2 cups (organic) cornmeal
6 cups water
2 tbsp olive oil
3/4 cup parmesan cheese (asiago also works really well, but almost any cheese would probably still taste good. I even used shredded cheddar and it was awesome)
chopped fresh sage or rosemary
salt to taste
ground black pepper to taste
Bring cornmeal, salt, and water to a slow simmer in a thick-bottomed pot, stirring often for about 20 minutes. The polenta will become thick. Stir in cheese, herbs, and olive oil. Spread polenta out in a large, shallow pan (or a couple) to approx. 3/4 inch depth. Cool in the fridge for 1 or 2 hours. Slice into the shape of your fries. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper and bake your fries at 425 F for about 45 minutes, flipping them over halfway through, or until the look golden and crispy on the outside.