It all started well enough yesterday. I had a recipe card from my local Natural Foods Co-Op, and me being me, I fiddled with the ingredients a little: from 2 + 3/4 cups organic cornmeal, 6 cups water, 3/4 cup freshly grated Parmesan, 1/4 cup of butter, chopped fresh sage or rosemary, salt to taste, and olive oil for baking sheet, I used–
- 2 + 3/4 cups organic cornmeal (Bob’s Red Mill)
- 4 cups water
- 2 cups chicken stock
- 1/4 cup Cabot unsalted butter
- 1/2 cup grated Parmesan
- 1/4 cup Cabot cheddar powder
- 1/2 t dried chives
- 1/4 t each oregano, ground celery seed, paprika, and salt
The water and cornmeal went into a saucepan over medium heat. I put the frozen chicken stock into the microwave to defrost as I whisked away. Bubble, bubble, when fully defrosted into the pot goes the chicken stock. Whisk, whisk, turn down the heat when it bubbles too violently. Spattering cornmeal could burn! About 15 to 20 minutes in I add chunks of butter. Once that is melted off goes the heat and in goes the cheeses.
Oh, that looks pretty, and it smells good too.
I tasted and decide on the seasonings listed above. I use a cooking spray, followed by fingers on a scrap of parchment paper to grease a 12″ x 8″ glass pan. In goes the polenta mix and I level it off with a spatula.
Today, after the polenta has had a good long time to set up, I turn the oven on for convention bake 400 F and take the pan of polenta out and slice the “fries” while the oven pre-heats. I space the polenta “fries” out on two baking sheets.
Into the oven they go. All seems well. But disaster strikes. After baking for 23 minutes I am going to turn the “fries” and I open the oven door. I do not see “fries” anymore. They have spread and run together. I chop them apart, grab a third baking tray so I can give them more space. Back into the oven they go to crisp up for another 15 minutes. The result is not pretty, but they sure are tasty. Guess I’ll just have to call them “Polenta Bites.”
All’s well that tastes good, but I wish they looked like fries.