Simple Herb Polenta Fries


Herb Polenta Fries recipe by Lilyandyas.com

I LOVE FOOD & I LOVE COOKING. I get it from my mama, and my mama's mama! I also have the nerve to be a very picky eater. There are so many things I don't eat and not because of any allergies (ie. bananas, uncooked tomatoes & okra!). At the same time I'm finding as I get older, I am also becoming a little less picky, possibly even more mature!? Who would have "thunk' it! Things that over the years I wouldn't touch with a 10 foot pole, have become a regular part of my diet. Well, I say all of that to say, Doneka & I will be posting some of our fav recipes, simple cooking advice, meal ideas, favorite things to eat at our favorite NY spots, secret family recipes, etc... Pretty much anything food-related that tickles our fancy! 

This recipe is one of my absolute favorite things to eat. Now before I start with the recipe I want to say that I HATE GRITS!! Really! I don't like grits at all. I just don't understand them! Are they sweet? Are they savory? We eat them for breakfast? I just don't get it. I never have, and probably never will! And because my family is West Indian, and our roots aren't Southern American, grits were never a staple in our home. Rarely did my mama make grits.
Now having said AAAALLLL of that..I LOVE POLENTA!! My husband says I'm crazy because "It's the same damn thing!". But I refuse to accept it and I will continue to eat polenta, and not grits. I think it's the little rebel in me! 
Throughout both my pregnancies I ate polenta almost everyday for about 4 months! For breakfast, snack, lunch or dinner, I just couldn't get enough. Now postpartum, I am on a POLENTA FRIES kick! (and YES, I am STILL "postpartum". Baby Boy #2 is 1.5 yo  and I am riding this postpartum thing out as long as I can! YOU CAN'T TELL ME NOTHING!)
For the health conscious, ignore the word "fries". I usually pan fry mine in safflower or olive oil,  and you can always bake them! They come out great both ways, with no actual deep frying required.
Herb Polenta Fries
OK so here's the recipe for these CREAMY & CRISPY fries. Try it out and let us know what you think!

Herb Polenta Fries

Makes about 6-8 servings.  
INGREDIENTS
2 cups coarse ground yellow corn meal (polenta corn grits) 
8 cups water 
1 tsp. chopped thyme
1 tbsp. chopped parsley
3/4 cup grated parmesan cheese
1/4 cup ricotta (optional)
2 tbsp. unsalted butter
1 tsp. salt
Olive oil or non-stick spray
TOPPING
1/4 cup grated parmesan cheese
2 tbsp. chopped parsley
2 cloves grated garlic
1 tsp. lemon zest
salt & pepper to taste
DIRECTIONS
  • Cover a baking sheet in parchment paper. Spray or brush with a little olive oil.
  • Bring water and salt to a boil in a large saucepan. Add polenta slowly to water while whisking (or stirring) until there are no lumps.
  • Reduce heat to low and add the thyme, parsley, butter, 3/4 cup of parmesan cheese (and ricotta). Stir until combined evenly throughout, and simmer about 15 minutes or until the polenta thickens. Stir occasionally.
  • Pour the polenta on to the parchment paper lined baking sheet. Spread it out evenly and allow to cool to room temperature or chill in the fridge for 30 minutes.
  • Once the polenta is cooled, cut into sticks. The size of the sticks is a matter of preference. I like mine kind of thick 3/4''x3".
  • FOR BAKING: Preheat oven to 425 degrees. Place sticks on a baking sheet and brush with a little olive oil . Bake for about 20 minutes, or until golden brown and crispy.
  • FOR PAN FRYING: Pan fry sticks on all sides with a little safflower or olive oil in a non-stick pan until golden brown & crispy on the edges.
  • In a bowl mix together all the topping ingredients. Toss the crispy polenta sticks in the mixture or spoon it on top.
Enjoy!

TIPS: 
***Make a large batch even if you only want 1-2 servings. Then refrigerate or freeze the unbaked polenta, and bake or fry them as needed. They hold up very well in the fridge for a few days. And making a large batch cuts out a lot of future cooking time!


***If you don't have time, or patience, you can always skip the whole 'making polenta from scratch' part by buying pre-cooked polenta from the grocery store. They come in great flavors like quinoa, basil/garlic, & sun-dried tomato/garlic.

Herb Polenta Fries (image courtesy of www.medibank.com.au)


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