You say Grits, We Say Polenta
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So, what is polenta? Simply, it’s ground corn meal that’s boiled in water. It originated in Northern Italy as peasant food. You do need to have a little patience because it needs to be stirred constantly while cooking, but it’s so worth the effort.
In our family, our parents used to serve it up on “Fat Tuesday.” They would cover the entire table with large serving boards and the whole family would gather around. They poured the polenta on the board, topped it with tomato sauce and put cooked Italian sausages in the middle. Everyone would eat, tunneling their way to the center, to reach the sausages. It was always a race to see who got there first, and the last one would have to do the dishes. So much fun!
You’ll really enjoy this recipe. It’s crunchy on the outside, rich and creamy on the inside.
Recipe: Lemon Dill Fried Polenta
6 cups water
¼ tsp. table salt
1 ¾ cups polenta (plain yellow corn meal)
3 tbsp. Unsalted Butter
¼ cup Lemon Juice
1 tbsp. Dried Dill
Vegetable or Olive Oil for frying
Bring water to a boil, add salt, and slowly add polenta. Lower the heat, add butter and keep stirring until smooth, about 10-15 minutes. Add lemon juice, dill and mix well. Slightly cool.
Line a large glass dish with Saran wrap, add mixture and smooth out. A larger glass dish allows more surface and will spread out to about an inch high. Refrigerate 45 minutes to an hour until firm. Take hold of your saran wrap and lift out. Place on cutting board and cut into squares.
Heat oil in a fry pan, over medium heat, add squares and brown about a minute on each side to warm through and achieve a golden brown color. Remove, drain on paper towel or brown paper. Shave or grate parmesan cheese over the top. Enjoy!
Makes about 40 1” x 3” squares
Calories: Polenta 556, Butter 303, Lemon Juice 13, Olive Oil 360, Cheese 100, Spices 0
TOTAL = 1332; that’s 33 calories per “square”