About Me
I'm a Melbourne boy, hailing from St Kilda with one ex, one current wife and four kids. Love the outdoors and making new discoveries. I cook a lot at home (cheers from wife) and do some preserving, mostly jams, pickles and fruit liqueurs. This is the diary of a cooking journey.

My Complete Profile

Recent Posts
Weather Change
Leftover Rollups
Cast The First Stone
Cure All
Whack Wednesday - one day late.
The Nugget Man
Strange Brew
My Town
Carve It Up
Party Help

Links
1001 Dinners 1001 Nights
A Few of My Favourite Things
Abstract Gourmet
Apellation Australia
Becks and Posh
BurgerMary ATX
Cook (almost) Anything at least once
Cooking Down Under
Cook sister!
Cooked And Bottled In Brunswick
David Lebovitz
Deep Dish Dreams
Chef Paz
Chubby Hubby
Eating Melbourne
Eating With Jack
essjay eats
Food Lover's Journey
Gosstronomy
Grab Your Fork
I Am Obsessed With Food
I Eat Therefore I Am
Iron Chef Shellie
Just Desserts
Kalyn's Kitchen
Kitchen Wench
Lobstersquad
Matt Bites
Melbourne Gastronome
My Kitchen in Half Cups
Nola Cuisine
Not Quite Nigella
Nourish Me
Seriously Good
Souvlaki For The Soul
Stone Soup
Sunnybrae
Syrup and Tang
Steve Don't Eat It!
That Jess Ho
The Elegant Sufficiency
The Perfect Pantry
The View From My Porch
Thyme for Cooking
Tomato
Tumeric & Saffron
tummy rumbles
What I Cooked Last Night
where's the beef
WhiteTrashBBQ
Vicious Ange

Food Blog Resources
Food Blog S'cool
I Eat I Drink I Work
Kiplog Food Links

Food for Thought
Autism Victoria
Autism Vox
forget me now
Lotus Martinis
MOM - Not Otherwise Specified
St Kilda Today

Friday, April 07, 2006
Polenta
I was talking to a friend the other day about what our kids like to eat, when I mentioned that our daughter M loves polenta. She said that she had cooked it once but didn't really like it, which I thought odd at the time, but the conversation moved on and I didn't get to ask her about it. Thinking about it later though, I sort of know why.

Polenta is one of those things that seem deceptively simple, it's just polenta, salt and water, but the truth is if you don't pay attention all the way along, it doesn't always turn out right. The first thing to know is that not all polenta is created equal. As in all things there is good quality and the not so good. You wouldn't think that something as simple as corn, dried and ground could vary much, but it does. I can't say why this is, my suspicion is that the quality of the corn and its subsequent handling as well as the milling process have a lot to do with it.

We have tried a few different brands, starting from a supermarket brand called Tasty, through to organic, stone ground from Essential Ingredient in Prahran Market. But the one we like best is Belmonte Polenta Traditional, an Italian brand, which I first found in Coles, but now it only seems to be stocked by the Essential Ingredient.

The next thing to look at is the recipe. All packets of polenta will have instructions on how to prepare it, but I want you to avoid that. Early on I made polenta with these directions and it always had a stodgy quality about it, as well as being hard to cook. It's normal in polenta making for a crust of corn to form on the bottom of the pot, how thick this becomes depends on how well you stir the pot. When you make polenta that is quite thick, it is not only harder to stir, but the crust is thicker as well.

This brings me to my recipe, well Marcella Hazan's recipe which I've adapted. She maintains that instant polenta can be improved by extending the recommended cooking time to as much as twenty minutes. But if you want really good polenta, the traditional one will yield a far better result. The first time I cooked traditional polenta to her recipe, is the first time I really enjoyed it.

Marcella says for instant polenta you will need 1.5 l (2.6 p) water, one tablespoon salt and 255 g (9 0z) instant polenta, and cook for about twenty minutes. For traditional polenta you need to increase the water to 1.75 l (3 p), and cook for up to 40 minutes. By comparison, the Belmonte packet directions state 2 l water to 500 g polenta, which works out to 437 g polenta per 1.75 l water, quite a difference.

The next step is to bring the water to the boil in a thick based pot, add the salt and slowly pour in the polenta whilst stirring with a whisk. Marcella says to pour the polenta like rain, this way you will avoid lumps. Now this is where I vary from Marcella, she advises to change from the whisk to a wooden spoon, adjust the heat down and keep stirring until done. Because this polenta is thinner than most, you can put the pot onto a simmer mat, adjust the heat until there is just an occasional plop, plop of molten polenta and give it a stir every now and then still using the whisk. You can walk away!

When the polenta starts to come away from the sides of the pot, it is ready. You can taste to verify this, it should have a silken texture. Now there is another decision to make, you can serve it as it is, or you can add a knob of butter and a grating of cheese, which is the way we serve it. The butter and cheese add a creaminess that is divine. We use grana padano which is about half the cost of parmigiano reggiano and the flavour is not all that different, in fact I suspect that more grana is used in Italy than parmigiano for this reason.

Pour the cooked polenta into a bowl, this quantity should serve six. The choice of what to serve with it is important for polenta loves wet food. Any choice of stew or casserole would be ideal, it can also replace Risotto Milanese in Osso Bucco. If by some miracle there is polenta left over, it will have firmed right up. There is no need to throw it away. Store it in the fridge and when you want to use it, cut it into cubes any size you like and fry them in a non stick frypan until golden, you can also cut them into tile shapes and use them to cover a shepherd's pie instead of mashed potato for example.
 
  posted at 10:35 am
  2 comments



2 Comments:
At 6:46 am, Blogger gigi said...

I love Polenta and haven't made it ages. Now you've made me want to and I can't (the victim of my current diet.) It sounds wonderful, though.

 
At 6:37 pm, Blogger neil said...

That is so sad gigi, but more power to you. Hope you get to eat some one day.

 

Post a Comment

<< Home



Search


Recipe Categories
Soups
Salads
Vegetables
Poultry
Pork
Beef
Cakes & Desserts
Miscellaneous

Archives
November 2005
December 2005
January 2006
February 2006
March 2006
April 2006
May 2006
June 2006
July 2006
August 2006
September 2006
October 2006
November 2006
December 2006
January 2007
February 2007
March 2007
April 2007
May 2007
June 2007
July 2007
August 2007
September 2007
October 2007
November 2007
December 2007
January 2008
February 2008
March 2008
April 2008
May 2008
June 2008
July 2008
August 2008
September 2008
October 2008
November 2008
December 2008
January 2009
February 2009
March 2009
May 2009
June 2009
September 2009
October 2009
November 2009
December 2009
January 2010
February 2010
March 2010
April 2010
May 2010
June 2010
July 2010
August 2010
September 2010
October 2010
November 2010
December 2010
February 2011
March 2011
April 2011
May 2011
June 2011
July 2011
August 2011
September 2011
July 2012

Miscellaneous
AUSTRALIAN FOOD BLOGGERS
Prev ~ List ~ Random ~ Join ~ Next
Site Ring from Bravenet


Site Feed

counter easy hit

Credits
Blog Design by:


Image created by:
Ximena Maier

Powered by:


Photos, Original Recipes, and Text - (C) Copyright: 2005-2010
At My Table by Neil Murray, all rights reserved.
You may re-post a recipe, please give credit and post a link to this site.

Contact Me
Neil Murray

Follow messytable on Twitter