I’m so sorry for my absence around here but, lately, and for various reasons, my life has been a bit on the hectic side. Anyway, today I wanted to talk with you about polenta, something I recently found out I’m particularly good at making. There’s this friend of mine – Hi Ana M.! – who had had polenta twice and was quite disappointed at how bland it tasted. For a birthday party we were both invited to, I made thick pan-fried polenta slabs and not only did she enjoy, but also asked me for the recipe. I don’t follow a recipe for this particular dish, and usually add whatever herbs I have on hand and whatever quantity of polenta there’s left on the package but, this time around, in order to write down the recipe for her (and for you as well), I measured the ingredients. Also, on a recent get-together to which I brought polenta fries, everyone at the table realised they go extremely well with guacamole – the creaminess of this avocado-based spread contrast so nicely with the crunchy polenta. You probably don’t need a recipe for guacamole (who does?) but, anyway, I decided to include in the post the way I usually do it.
(makes enough for 4 to 6 people)
for the polenta fries:
2 cups (350 g) polenta (I used an organic brand)
4 cups (1 liter) water
2 teaspoons salt
1 tablespoon fresh thyme, minced
2 teaspoons fresh rosemary, minced
for the guacamole:
2 medium-sized avocados (150 g), peeled, cored, and mashed
1 tablespoon lemon juice
1/4 teaspoon minced garlic
pinch of salt
red chilli, minced
1. In a pan over medium heat, combine the polenta with water. Add the salt and stir constantly for 10 to 15 minutes, or until it reaches a very thick consistency. At this point, add the herbs and stir once again to incorporate.
2. Spread the polenta in a baking tray of about 25×35 cm. Smooth the top with the help of a spatula. Let it cool for 10 to 15 minutes, and then put it in the refrigerator for 1 to 2 hours, or until chilled.
3. Adjust the oven rack to the upper third position and pre-heat the oven to 250ºC/480ºF.
4. Cut the polenta into thick “fries” (mine were about 2 cm wide).
5. Brush a large baking tray with olive oil. Add the polenta fries and brush each one of them with olive oil as well.
6. Bake the polenta fries in the upper third of the oven, for about 15-20 minutes or until golden brown.
7. Serve with the sauces of your choice. Goes particularly well with guacamole (recipe follows) and tomato-base sauces.
for the guacamole:
1. Add all the ingredients (except the olive oil and the minced red chilli) to the mashed avocados. Drizzle with olive oil and, finally, sprinkle with the minced red chilli and a bit more salt.