Crispy polenta is an Italian hors d’oeuvres, and is perfect for mixing and matching with sauces, topping, or dips. Gluten free and delicious year round, polenta can be made days ahead of serving and is easily crisped up in a pan with extra virgin olive oil.
You can fry in evoo. But there are a couple of rules: use only high quality extra virgin olive oil (we like Colavita), keep oil at/under 360°F, and monitor oil temperature as you’re frying (using a deep fry thermometer).
- Cook Time
- Prep Time
- 4 cups water, chicken broth, or milk
- 1 cup polenta
- 3 or more teaspoons kosher salt
- 1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
- 2 tablespoons fresh chopped herbs (rosemary, thyme, flat leaf parsley, tarragon, etc.)
- Extra virgin olive oil, such as Colavita
- Toppings: grated Parmesan cheese, spicy tomato sauce, mascarpone cheese, roasted peppers, pesto
1. Heavily coat the bottom and sides of a 9- x 9-inch casserole dish with evoo.
2. In a medium saucepan over medium heat, stir water (or milk or broth) with polenta, salt, and pepper until mixture is simmering. Continue stirring occasionally until polenta is soft and starchy, about 20 minutes.
3. Continue cooking until very thick and polenta grains are no longer separate, but the mixture is a thick mass, about another 10 minutes.
4. Add herbs and stir to combine. Pour polenta into prepared pan and press down on the surface with a piece of parchment paper (the mixture is very HOT, be careful!) to flatten the surface and press out any air bubbles.
5. Allow the polenta to cool completely before refrigerating or cutting into cakes.
6. Heat a large sauté pan, lightly coated with evoo, over medium heat. Cut polenta into desired size cakes using a sharp knife or cookie cutters. Brown the cakes in preheated pan until golden and crispy on each side.
7. Serve with favorite toppings, as an hors d’oeuvre or as a side with fish, vegetables, or meat.
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