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KS Fan Question: How Do I make Polenta?

Hey KS Fans,

I recently received an e-mail from one of our KS fans, Sharon Fogel, asking if I had any good polenta recipes like the ones she ate at some of her favorite restaurants in NY. As I have only eaten Polenta in Israel where it is a regular item on most dairy restaurants there – I really never make it at home.

So I took Sharon up on her challenge and I researched some of my favorite chefs and their polenta recipes – and I came up with my version of some great tasting polenta dishes. I must say I was surprised at how easy the dish was to make (make sure to use quick instant polenta) and what at great alternative to dishes and recipes that call for mash potatoes and  bread.

I can also tell you my daughter loved it – the creamy polenta’s mushy texture and light cheesey flavor was right up her alley – A cross between farina/ & mac n cheese.

So Sharon I thank you for the challenge – hope I was helpful in your quest for a good polenta recipe!

Happy Polentaing!

Sarah

If any one else has a recipe challenge or request – I would love to hear from you – email me at sarah@kosherstreet.com



Creamy Polenta

Ingredients

  • 4 cups water, plus more as needed
  • 4 cups milk, plus more as needed
  • 3 tablespoons butter
  • 2 teaspoons salt
  • 2 teaspoon dried parsley
  • 1 tsp. black pepper
  • Pinch of nutmeg
  • 2 cups instant polenta
  • 1/2 cup heavy cream or whole milk
  • ½ cup shredded cheddar cheese

Directions

In a large saucepan, bring the water, milk and butter to a boil. Add 2 teaspoons of salt to the water and whisk in the polenta. Whisk constantly for 3 to 4 minutes to prevent lumps. Simmer for about 6-8  minutes, partially covered and stirring every few minutes, until the polenta is thick, smooth, and creamy. Add the spices, heavy cream and Cheese. Check for and adjust consistency by adding milk or water to the polenta. Polenta may be made up to 20 minutes ahead of time and kept covered until ready to serve.

 

Creamy Polenta with Mushrooms & Spinach

Follow above recipe Saute 2 cups mushr

ooms with 1 cup spinach – season with salt & pepper.

Fill a ramekin halfway with the creamy polenta, add the cooked vegetables till almost the top, add a little more polenta, your favorite tomato sauce and top with more shredded cheese.

Bake in oven at 400 till cheese is bubbling and crusty.

I have also seen and tasted  avocado an

d tomato scallion salsa served on top of a creamy polenta – very delicious as well

 

 

Poached Eggs over Polenta

with Olive-Herb Pesto

serves 4

for the pesto:
1/3 cup olive oil
1/2 cup green olives, coarsely chopped
1 cup fresh Italian parsley or basil, coarsely chopped (I used basil)
1/2 cup fresh oregano, coarsely chopped
1/2 cup fresh thyme, coarsely chopped

Mix olives and fresh herbs in a medium-sized bowl. Stir in olive oil and season with salt and pepper. Mix. Set aside.

for the polenta:
2 cups polenta
8 cups water (depending on how thick you like your polenta)
1/2 cup hard cheese, shredded (Parmesan, Gruyere, cheddar or mozzarella)
3/4 teaspoon salt

Heat water in a large pot, when boiling, slowly pour in polenta. Lower the temperature to simmer and cook for about 20-25 minutes, until polenta has absorbed the water. Take pot off flame and stir in shredded cheese and salt. Season with salt and pepper. Cover and set aside until plating.
for the poached eggs: Or if you would like a sunny side up egg would work just as well
4 eggs
1 teaspoon lightly-colored vinegar (any type will do, just not balsamic as it will color the eggs)
salt

Crack eggs into a small bowl, set aside. Heat another medium-sized pot with water, adding a sprinkle of salt and teaspoon of vinegar to water. When water is at a boil, slip the four eggs into the water bath, swirling with a spoon to help eggs form into solid shapes. Cook for about four minutes for a slightly runny center.


to assemble the dish:

ladle about 1 1/2 cups of the polenta into a large bowl, add an egg to each bowl, garnish with the olive-herb pesto. Serve with extra olive oil and lots of salt and pepper.

 

Grilled Polenta

This recipe is from Guy Fiori

You can serve this as a side to any fish dish – Or it goes great with a nice green vegetable salad.  You can also make Polenta pizza with this recipe – after baking slice and top with some tomato sauce and cheese – bake for 3-4 minutes.

Ingredients

  • 3 cups water
  • 2 teaspoons kosher salt
  • 1 1/2 cups quick cooking polenta, medium or coarse-grain
  • 1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 teaspoon freshly chopped thyme leaves
  • 1 teaspoon freshly chopped marjoram leaves
  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter, plus more for pan
  • 3/4 cup grated Parmesan
  • 1/4 cup olive oil, for grilling or pan searing

Directions

In a medium saucepan, over medium-high heat, bring the water and the salt to just a boil. Reduce the heat, slowly whisk in the polenta and season with pepper. Continue to whisk until the mixture starts to tighten up, about 3 to 4 minutes. Add the fresh chopped herbs, 2 tablespoons of the butter and the Parmesan. Continue to stir until well combined and very thick, taste for seasoning adjustment.

Liberally butter a 10-inch springform pan on the bottom and about 2-inches up the side. Pour in the hot polenta and with a rubber spatula, rubbed with butter, smooth out the top. Set aside to cool to room temperature, then cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate for 2 hours to set. (This can also be done up to 1 day ahead.)

Preheat a grill to medium.

When ready to grill, or pan fry, remove the polenta from the pan and cut it into equal pie shapes or cut circles with a biscuit cutter. Lightly oil a grill, brush each side of the polenta with olive oil and grill or pan sear until golden brown, about 3 minutes on each side. Arrange the polenta on a serving platter and serve hot.

 

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About the Author

For the last 8 years Sarah Lasry has been the heart and soul of the successful and celebrated Tastebuds Gourmet Café & Flower Shop in Howell, NJ. Sarah opened and ran Tastebuds to much critical appraise for her unique approach to delicious, kosher gourmet cooking as well as her legendary parties, original style and artistic culinary flair. In 2006 Sarah wrote the acclaimed bestselling cookbook “THE DAIRY GOURMET” which revealed all the secret recipes of Tastebuds Café. With much anticipation from her many fans and fellow foodies, Sarah’s brand new cookbook “THE AT HOME GOURMET” just hit the stores with high praise and reviews. Sarah currently resides in Lakewood, NJ where she has recently left the restaurant business to concentrate on her passion for writing cookbooks and is hard at work as the Food and Home contributing editor for Binah Magazine and www. Kosherstreet.com.

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