Not only had I not tried polenta before this evening but I wouldn’t have been able to describe what the heck it was. I’d seen the tubes in stores and had formed an aversion to for some reason. It was only after receiving a recipe from the VegNews Recipe Club in February that I had incubated it to the “must try eventually” list. Having the time and gusto to trek 2 trains and a bus to Redhook’s Fairway this afternoon, in light of spring recess, I threw in a tube of the stuff in my basket along with my cupcake ingredients for tomorrow’s big Cupcake Camp event.
The recipe was quick and easy but, cooking at 450 for 30 minutes, heated the entire apartment to an uncomfortable level. Having used the last of my parchment paper roll, it was time to break in another Christmas present, the Silpat. I also broke in Wok Man’s new camera photographing the crispy little suckers below. They were so so good… crispy on the outside and chewy in the middle, rivaling and defeating the best of fried, dippable animally-derived finger foods like mozzarella and zucchini sticks.
Polenta Fries from VegNews
1 16- to 18-ounce tube of polenta
1 tablespoon olive oil
1-1⁄2 tablespoons fine cornmeal
1⁄2 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon rosemary, freshly chopped
1. Preheat oven to 450 degrees. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper and set aside. Peel the thin coating off the polenta (a vegetable peeler works great), and trim into a rectangular shape. Cut in half lengthwise, and then slice into thin strips, each roughly 1⁄3-inch thick.
2. Gently toss polenta in the olive oil, and then dredge in cornmeal. Place on prepared baking sheet and sprinkle with salt and rosemary. Bake for 25 to 30 minutes, turning once or twice, until lightly browned. The fries will get crispier and chewier once they cool. Serve with dips, marinara sauce, or seasoned vinegar.