Polenta is a classic Italian comfort food made of boiled cornmeal. Historically polenta was made with cornmeal combined with other grains. Today, polenta is often served as a soft, creamy creamy pureed dish, or it is cooled to solidify into a loaf that can be baked, fried, or grilled. It is often used as a gluten free substitute for pasta.
The ratio for a good pan-fried polenta ‘cake’ is one volume of cornmeal to three volumes of liquid.
What is polenta?
Polenta is yellow cornmeal cooked with water or a flavoured broth to which extra ingredients can be added. Fresh herbs and cheese are the classic flavour makers added to this dish. Polenta can be served as a side dish or a main dish. Polenta is a good alternative for rice or pasta and commonly served with sauce dishes.
Why pan-fried polenta cake?
Once the polenta is cooked, allowing it to cool down makes it a solid mass. It can then be sliced or cut in any form or shape and pan-fried or grilled. Use non-stick cookware to form an outer crust and ensure the inside stays soft and creamy.
Pan-Fried Polenta Cake
- Bring the milk, chicken stock and thyme to the boil. Add a pinch of salt and pepper.
- Reduce the heat and whisk the polenta gradually into the milk then whisk constantly until thickened and cooked.
- Remove from the heat and stir in the grated parmesan and butter until well combined. Season to taste.
- Pour the hot polenta onto an oiled tray, cover with a cling film and let it cool.
- Once cooled, unmould the ‘polenta cake’ and cut into equal square or rectangular pieces.
- Heat the olive oil and butter over a medium low heat and gently fry the polenta.
- Sear for 2-3 minutes on each side until golden brown. Serve immediately.
- The polenta can be prepared a day in advance and kept for up to 3 days in the refrigerator.