Monday, March 27, 2006

Polenta, quick and easy

I'm still working out how I'm going to organize my recipes here – I want to archive by subject, not date – but I might as well start posting so I have something to work with. This is one of my favorites, a microwave polenta recipe that takes less time to cook than a pot of rice and only requires one stirring (stove-top polenta has to be stirred for half an hour). For the uninitiated, polenta can be described as a cornmeal mush, but it's much better than it sounds. Serve it as a side to chicken or pork, or top it, like pasta, with something saucy; it easily takes the place of mashed potatoes, and can be seasoned to suit your entree (different cheeses, some herbs, lots of pepper - whatever). It was originally an American Indian dish, borrowed by the Italians, who now claim it as their own.

I buy a nice coarse cornmeal at Walason's bakery supply here in Kaohsiung. Dollar's carries it in their bulk foods bins; Taisuco used to sell it in bags, but I haven't seen it there in a long time. Any cornmeal will work, but the local stuff is preferable to the finer cornbread-style grind that you can get in the states – better texture.

This is from Barbara Kafka's Microwave Gourmet:
Soft Polenta (serves 3 or 4)

2-1/2 cups water
1/2 cup cornmeal
1 teaspoon sea salt (less if using table salt)

in an 8-cup glass measure or med. glass bowl. Cook on high for 5 min. Stir, cover loosely w/paper towel, and cook 5 minutes longer.

Remove from oven, uncover, and stir in
2 tablespoons butter
a pinch of fresh-ground pepper
2-3 tablespoons cheese (fresh-grated parmesan, goat cheese, sharp cheddar, Monterey Jack) or additional butter

Let stand 3 minutes; serve hot.

Please note: microwave recipes do not always double or halve easily. If you want this in a larger or smaller portion, please say so in a comment and I will provide.

1 comment:

Jenna said...

This sounds awesome. I'm going to try it tomorrow for breakfast.