04 November 2007

Fried Crispy Polenta with Rosemary and Salt

Polenta Fritta Croccante con Rosmarino e Sale
Fried Crispy Polenta with Rosemary and Salt (with title)
Most of my food blogging friends are female. In fact, I don't need to whip up any statistics to say that majority of food bloggers (or bloggers for that matter) are female. Occasionally I will come across the requisite "Divine Secrets of the Ya-Ya Blogging Sisterhood" post and will feel like chopped liver. Not that anyone has ever felt the need to form a "Manly Men of Food Blogging" ring, which is gag-inducing in its own right and a sophisticated dork like me probably still won't fit in. So while I enjoy reading and love all sorts of food blogs (see: the right column), I'm thankful for male bloggers who are unable to speak/understand the divine secret language of sisterhood of the travelling pants. However, I do consider Blood Sugar to be my "brother blog" for many reasons, not the least of which we both speak the language of, well, foul. Haha. So when Graeme wrote a post about lemon and rosemary polenta, I was both amused and freaked out because I'd been staring at the picture in Jamie Oliver's Jamie's Italy for a long time that day, thinking of making it. Psychic vibes, maybe. So after postponing it for a while, I bring you my first attempt at polenta. (Recipe follows)

  • 8-9 oz (about 250g) fine polenta, plus more for dusting

  • 3 pints (750mL) water

  • a handful (about 80g or more) of freshly grated Parmesan cheese

  • salt and pepper

  • sprigs of fresh rosemary

In a large pot, bring the water to a boil over medium heat then add a good pinch of salt. Add the polenta and whisk to combine. When it starts to boil, it will sputter a bit, so put on the lid partially. When it's thickened more, it will quiet down, so turn the heat to low and stir occasionally until it reaches the consistency of fluffy mashed potatoes. It took only 20 minutes for my polenta, but it can take as long as 45 minutes. If you go too far and the polenta starts looking chunky again, stir in some water (125mL or so) and be careful this time! Stir in the Parmesan and correct the seasoning with salt and pepper (don't be shy, give it a taste). Turn the polenta out into an oiled baking sheet and spread it to a thickness of about 1 inch and leave to cool. Cut or tear into bite-size pieces.

Preheat oil in a deep fryer to 350°F (175°C). Fill a medium bowl with some more polenta and toss the pieces of cooked polenta to coat. Fry the pieces for 4 minutes, adding sprigs of fresh rosemary during the last 20 seconds of cooking. Drain over paper towels and sprinkle with sea salt.

I served mine on the abstract of an old research titled "Effects of Equisetum arvense extracts on the rate of healing of excised wounds among albino mice." For some reason I had photocopied too many of them for a presentation and they're sitting in a scrap paper pile, waiting to be used as grocery lists and such.

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