I COULDN’T RESIST the soft polenta on the menu one recent cold night at a local restaurant—creamy-style, and laced with cheese. With that warming, cozy meal’s memory in mind, I bought a pound of organic cornmeal for the pantry the next day, imagining simple, filling suppers-to-be. Apparently I’m now officially on a cornmeal bender, from soupy-style farinata with greens and garlic, to crispy cakes for supper, and even biscotti laced with coconut for dessert. A batch of polenta “fries” is coming up next. Things could be worse.
One of my favorite quick, cheap, filling meals is farinata—a sort of soupy polenta with grated cheese, garlic and greens stirred in. I still have kale and spigarello in the garden, which work perfectly.
I form a stiffer version of polenta into slabs and then cut it into cakes, cooked till crispy and topped with onion rings or shredded carrots or maybe some extra crumbles of bleu cheese. The recipe.
Speaking of crispy: The same restaurant where I had polenta for supper used to feature crispy polenta triangles. They’re not unlike these polenta “fries” from Heidi Swanson of 101Cookbooks.com. I chop a tiny bit of fresh rosemary into the batter before forming and cooking the wedges. Caution: addictive.
I was happy to have the perfect closing act show up in “The New York Times” the other day, in a roundup of “wholesome biscotti” recipes. The one that called to me, in my current mindset: Cornmeal and Coconut. True–and truly delicious, with coconut oil and also unsweetened coconut flakes. Note: It will still be plenty sweet if you back off a few tablespoons from the sugar called for (using 1/3 cup plus 2 Tbsp., instead of the 2/3 cup called for). Also: The recipe specifies ¾ cup fine or medium cornmeal; we used a combination of ½ cup fine and ¼ medium.
Where does cornmeal, or polenta, figure into your current cooking plans?