May 30, 2007

I Really Don't Like Polenta

I've seen chefs make polenta many times on television but I've had it a few times at restaurants and not liked it. It seems like the kind of thing I should like, though, so I decided to try making it myself.

The first time, I bought a package of cooked polenta (like this one) from Trader Joe's, cut off slices and sauteed them. I still didn't like them.

Then last week I came upon this package of corn grits/polenta and it looked really appealing. So I pulled out my copy of Brilliant Food Tips and Cooking Tricks by David Joachim, which is one of my trusty reference cookbooks. I followed the recipe pretty closely (I skipped the fresh herbs since I didn't have any) and the polenta looked good. It was the right consistency and texture. I should have loved it. But I didn't.

Not to worry. I had a back up plan. I poured the polenta into a baking dish and put it in the fridge overnight. The next day, I cut out 1 1/2-inch circles and sauteed them in a tiny bit of olive oil. Again, they looked great - toasty brown patties made a little gooey on the inside from the Parmesan cheese. But I don't know what it is, I just wasn't crazy about them. It's not that they were bad - I ate quite a few of them. But I didn't love them the way I thought I should.

I think I'm going to give polenta one more shot - after all, I still have the package of grits/polenta and Clotilde Dusoulier's Crisp Polenta Triangles (with walnuts and Beaufort cheese) is mouthwatering. But I'm not holding out too much hope.

Even though I didn't love the sauteed polenta, I thought it would make great toddler-friendly food. You could also bake the rounds instead of sauteeing them to keep the fat content down. Add in a little bit of finely chopped spinach or finely grated carrot and your toddler will never know he or she just ate some veggies along with the corn and cheese.

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