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Crispy Polenta


I have a thing for polenta. In all forms but especially when it is in its crispy form. Whether it ends up as "chips" or served as a wedge doesn't really matter.

The method for making both is essentially the same.

So regardless of whether you're intending to make chips as a snack or you need the polenta as part of a main course and will use larger wedge style portions, you simply start right here.

CRISPY POLENTA

Serves 4-6 as a starter (chips) or 6-8 as a wedge in a main course

INGREDIENTS

4 cups of chicken stock

4 cups of milk

Salt

3 teaspoons finely chopped rosemary

2 2/3 cup of polenta (not fine)

Optional: 1 cup of finely grated parmesan cheese (refer to step 4)

METHOD

1. Line a lasagne sized baking tray with baking paper and a light coat of olive oil spray. Pour the milk, stock and a crack or three of salt into a large saucepan. Heat on a medium to high heat and bring to a gentle boil.

2. While waiting for the liquid to boil, measure out your polenta and chop the rosemary.

3. As the liquid just begins to boil, reduce the heat slightly, add the chopped rosemary and gradually add the polenta in a thin stream while whisking at the same time.

4. Continue stirring until cooked through. This may take a couple of minutes.

(Optional - add the parmesan, if using, and stir to combine and melt into the polenta)

5. Remove the polenta from the heat and pour into the lined tray. Push evenly into all corners, smooth down and even out the top with the base of the spoon or use a butter knife. Wetting it may help. Place tray in the fridge until the polenta is set which will take at least an hour.

6. Once set remove the tray from the fridge. Cut the polenta into chips or wedges to prepare for cooking.

7. You have two choices to cook the polenta at this point.

For the first option, you can fry them in a pan with a dash of olive oil, sprinkle with salt when browned and serve (this is the method I used for this post).

For the second option you can preheat your oven to 200 degrees celsius. While waiting for the oven to heat, line a tray or two with baking paper, depending on how much of the polenta you're making, then lay the polenta on the trays and coat lightly with olive oil spray. Cook in the oven until the edges are golden and serve with a sprinkle of salt.

SERVING SUGGESTIONS

As wedges, you can serve these for;

1. Brunch

- with poached eggs, chorizo and avocado

- smoked salmon, poached eggs and a dash of creme fraiche

2. Lunch or Dinner

- steak with asparagus and a delicious sauce

- mushroom ragu

- seared salmon and a salsa of red onion, tomato, avocado and olive oil

As chips these are fantastic with blue cheese sauce ~ which I've been inspired by from the wonderful Bloodwood in Newtown, although I must admit, theirs is absolutely to die for. To make a basic rendition simply warm some thickened cream in a saucepan then add 80g of Gorgonzola to melt gently into the cream. Serve with the polenta chips.

WINE SUGGESTION

Your best bet is to choose a wine based on the protein you add to the polenta in your final dish. If you choose to serve the polenta chips with blue cheese sauce as a starter I'd suggest a white wine, such as a dry Riesling or even a crisp fresh beer to go with them as both of those options will 'cut' through the richness of the blue cheese sauce.

I served mine as part of a main course with eye fillet, asparagus and a blue cheese sauce. This is simply perfect with a Cabernet Sauvignon or a Shiraz, depending on your preference.

Follow @tippleandfodder on Instagram for more inspiration to tickle your tastebuds.

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