I love polenta because it is so easy to make, and it can be used as a side dish for a wide variety of meals. For example, cheddar polenta goes well with bbq brisket or ribs and okra or green beans, gouda polenta goes well with blackened shrimp, and a pepper jack polenta even goes very well as a base for carnitas. Then, when you’re done playing with flavors, this chameleon of foods can take on many textures…from a soft creamy mound to crunchy bites. I’m not sure there’s much that polenta can’t do…oh, and did I mention it’s exceedingly cheap and easy to make? Give it a try, and you won’t be disappointed.
This rendition of polenta is going to be paired with Garlic Sherry Scallops, so I’m opting to go with a soft polenta with Parmesan cheese to complement the flavours and better mix with the sauce. But check back for future alternative uses or additions to this base recipe!
Time: 20-40 Minutes (depending on the texture you’re going for)
Ingredients (2 servings):
- 1/2 cup cornmeal
- 2 cups of water
- Parmesan cheese (however much you want for taste/texture)
- Seasonings to taste (I’m using some oregano and basil)
- Boil water in a non-stick sauce pan
- When it comes to a boil, turn the heat to low, and slowly pour in the cornmeal while whisking to avoid clumping
- You may find that you’ll need to turn the heat off entirely for this, as when it starts to thicken, it tends to “burp” a little at first and shoot upwards.
- When the corn meal absorbs the water and starts to thicken (turn the heat back on to low if you turned it off above), whisk in your seasonings and cheese
- Stir intermittently until the polenta coagulates (how’s that for a gross word on a food blog?) to your desired thickness.
- Plate, devour, and enjoy!