Saturday, October 15, 2005

Polenta Fries

Polenta is a coarse grind of cornmeal similar to grits. It is usually yellow, but white polenta and grits also make great fries.

The polenta is prepared the night before and refrigerated. In the morning allow about 20 minutes to slice and broil the polenta wedges, turning them into perfect, crispy fries.

serves 2 to 3

1 ½ cups polenta or grits
1 tsp. salt or to taste
1 TB olive oil, plus more for pan
1 TB nutritional yeast flakes
Barbecue sauce or ketchup, for serving

Spray or brush one 8.5 x 3.5 loaf pan with olive oil. Cut a piece of parchment paper large enough to cover the bottom of the loaf pan with two edges folding up and over the sides of the pan (this will help you unmold the polenta). Spray or brush the parchment with olive oil. Set aside.

In a medium saucepan, bring 4 cups of water to a boil. Add the salt. Gradually add the polenta, whisking constantly. Return to a boil, lower the heat to the lowest setting and cook, stirring constantly with a wooden spoon, until the mixture is thick, about 8 minutes. Add 1 TB olive oil and the nutritional yeast and stir well to combine.

Pour the polenta mixture into the prepared loaf pan. Use a wooden spoon or spatula to smooth the top. Refrigerate several hours or overnight.

In the morning, preheat the oven to broil with the oven rack set about 5-6 inches from the broiler. Line a baking sheet with parchment and brush the parchment with olive oil.

Remove the polenta from the loaf pan and set on a cutting board. Slice the polenta into ½” slices, then cut the slices in half to make bite-size pieces. Arrange the slices on the baking sheet and brush them with olive oil.

Broil for about 10 minutes, until the tops are crispy. Flip the slices over and broil for an additional 5 minutes, until crispy and beginning to brown. Sprinkle with salt if desired. Serve the fries with barbecue sauce or ketchup for dipping.