Martha Rose Schulman, in the New York Times, has referred to polenta as “the elegant gruel,” ironic, because we tend to associate gruel with being a survival food for the lowliest.
Polenta is cornmeal boiled into a porridge then usually mixed with other vegetables, cheeses or seasonings and served along side fresh fish or meats. Corn Polenta is usually a pale yellow in color. The more finally ground corn polenta is milled, the creamier, it will be. Coarser polenta produces a chewier mixture.
Italy’s polenta gets its worst reputation for being a bit-painstaking to cook, as it requires careful stirring for about 45 minutes, similar to its Italian rice cousin, risotto. Eat corn polenta as a porridge, or form chilled polenta into a desired shape and fry it or bake it. Sometimes it is topped with a delicious sauce. There is a baking alternative which produces satisfactory results. Instant polenta is also on the market but not considered a good trade-off, tastewise or texturewise.
Here’s a quick, bright holiday suggestion for corn polenta. How about a Holiday Polenta made brighter with Parmesan cheese and dotted with decorative green peas and bits of red sun-dried tomatoes? Continue reading →