And don't stop at savory options because polenta makes some amazing desserts! I have 2 examples here: Honey Almond Polenta Sundae, and Strawberry Coconut Cream on Polenta Squares (recipes to follow). Both received rave reviews around here! And oh my, once again, the possibilities are endless! I am sure that somewhere in history, somebody took the time to dedicate an entire cookbook book on polenta. It certainly deserves a place on your table!
5 cups water
1/4-1/2 tsp sea salt
1 cup medium or course ground polenta or cornmeal
Though many recipes tell you to bring the water to a boil, I find that staring with cold water is better because it keeps the corn meal from lumping when you pour it in. So in a medium saucepan, measure the water and add the salt. Pour in the cornmeal and begin heating until it simmers, turning down immediately because it will begin to spatter, bubble and burn...not a good thing. On very low heat, continue to cook while stirring occasionally. It's ready, according to tradition, when a wooden spoon stands on it's own in the pot.
At this point, you may add 1 cup of grated Parmesan cheese if desired (but not if your are going for a great dessert!).
To make polenta square as seen here, pour the porridge into a baking dish and allow to cool in the refrigerator. When cold, heat a frying pan with a few tablespoon of oil to medium. Cut cooled polenta into squares or pie wedges and fry until golden on each side. Remember to have a lid or a spatter screen on hand because this can get messy...and spattering oil hurts!
Now let me get honest and say that after several rounds of frying, popping and spattering, I decided to turn the broiler on and move to a sheet pan with oiled polenta squares. Suffice to say that I will never fry polenta again!
When nicely browned, serve with your choice of vegetable stew, pasta sauce, creamed kale or spinach, or whatever your creative heart can dream up!