Thursday, November 17, 2005

Polenta Without the Insanity

You are free to ignore all the cookbook instructions on how to make lump-free polenta! No sifting polenta between the fingers into boiling water that you’re simultaneously whisking like mad so as to keep the dry falling grains from coagulating upon contact with the water. No residue of uncooked, burned polenta grains that fell onto your stovetop on the way to the pot. I don’t know what every other cookbook author is thinking setting you all up to make lumps galore unless you’re fastidious as all get out. No! Just make it as I used to make Cream of Wheat as a kid: mix the COLD water (3.5 cups) with the polenta (1 cup) and salt (1 tsp) in a pot and THEN put it all on the stove at high heat stirring frequently with a wooden spoon. Just when it starts to bubble and gurgle like Mt Etna threatening to spew droplets of extremely hot, molten polenta onto the stovetop, turn the heat down to low and mix more frequently making sure to scrape the bottom thoroughly. Non stick works great but even a regular pan lets go of cooled polenta nicely enough. Day-old polenta is fabulous cut into slices and fried (for a long time, mind you) in olive oil until brown and super crispy on the sides. Mmmm…it’s good!


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