I LOVE polenta – either baked or fried or fresh with stew. If you’ve never tried it (or if you tried it and don’t think much of it), this recipe is a perfect starting point because it’s nice and crispy on top and soft and cheesy in the middle. Who doesn’t like a good, cheesy, fried thang?! There’s also wonderful aromas from the fresh herbs and the garlic which lift it from yum to super yum.
These squares are perfect as a side dish with dinner or even to take to a picnic or eat on the go.
On a different note, I recently finished A Little Life by Hanya Yanagihara and I reviewed it on Instagram here. Have a read of my two cents and, if you read the book, I’d love to hear what you think of it.
Cheesy fried polenta squares
- 1 TBSP olive oil
- 2 Spanish onions, finely chopped
- 3 garlic cloves, finely chopped
- 7 cups water
- 2 cups coarse polenta (cornmeal)
- 1/4 cup olive oil + 1 TBSP for frying
- 1/2 tsp sea salt
- pepper to taste
- 1 tsp turmeric powder
- 4 TBSP nutritional yeast flakes (optional but delicious)
- 2 handfuls grated vegan cheddar
- 1 TBSP vegan butter
- 2 handfuls fresh parsley
- 1 TBSP mixed Italian herbs
- Add 1 TBSP olive oil, the onions and garlic to a pan an on medium low heat and cook for 5-6 minutes.
- At the same time, add 7 cups of water to a big heavy bottom pot (cast iron is good) on medium heat.
- Gently stir 2 cups of cornmeal using a whisk. Make sure there’s no lumps. Continue to cook until it begins to gently simmer, then lower the heat.
- Add the 1/4 cup olive oil, salt, pepper, turmeric and nutritional yeast flakes and whisk to mix through.
- Add the cheddar, butter and herbs and mix through.
- Continue to cook, stirring occasionally, until it becomes quite thick.
- Then remove from heat and pour into a baking pan lined with baking paper. Make sure it’s leveled and then allow it to cool and firm up.
- Once cool, cut it into squares.
- Heat 1 TBSP olive oil into a pan and add a few of the polenta squares – don’t overload the pan so they can cook well and turn out crispy.
- Cook for about 4-5 minutes on each side, then remove from the pan and cook the rest.
- Enjoy fresh and warm or store in the fridge. Keeps well for up to 4 days.