This week’s project was polenta.
I hadn’t cooked cornmeal (semoule de maïs in French)in several years and didn’t remember it being so good. Last Tuesday, I bought some at the nearby health-food store and inadvertently made way too much of it. We ended up eating polenta in some form or another for three days straight. Fortunately, we liked it and, fortunately, it’s versatile.
The first night was my favorite, as I baked the cornmeal in individual ramekins with a layer of Roquefort cheese in the middle (this recipe). It was full of flavor, thick and creamy. It accompanied our cod over endives (recipe to come!) quite well.
Polenta keeps well and solidifies once cool. It’s easy to slice and either bake or fry leftovers. The second night, I cut half-inch thick layers from the block I’d refrigerated and baked it with goat cheese. It replaced the bread in my warm goat cheese salad.
The third night, we only had a little polenta left so we ate it as an appetizer. Once again, I baked thin slices (about a quarter of an inch thick) with a top layer of cheese. This time, I used Parmesan and browned it in the oven.
Basically, polenta and melted cheese are a wonderful combination.
For this recipe, you should probably count on about 50 grams of polenta per person. However, if you’re busy like I am and want quick dinners, make extra!
Shopping List (for 2 people)
Uncooked cornmeal (roughly 100 grams)
1 tablespoon butter
1/8 – 1/4 cup milk
Roquefort cheese (to your taste)
1. First, cook the dry cornmeal on the stove-top. In a medium sauce pan, place one portion cornmeal in four portions water and bring to a boil. Stir regularly for about twenty minutes (I cover with a lid when I’m not stirring).
2. Next, season. (If you’re keeping leftovers, you can remove and store them now, or go ahead and season with salt and pepper, then store). Off heat, stir in the butter, milk, salt and pepper.
3. Last, decorate and bake. Fill ramekins half way. Cover with a layer of Roquefort, then cover with another thin layer of polenta. Bake in a hot oven until slightly golden on top.