Monday, May 10, 2010

Grilled Polenta

Have you ever tried polenta?  If not, you are missing one of the best pleasures in the food world.

Polenta is, simply said, cornmeal mush.  But it is such a beautiful palatte with which to paint your flavors (or something artsy like that).  As it finishes on the stove, toss in some sharp bleu cheese for a soft side.  Or just a little butter with salt and pepper.  Some earthy mushrooms or bitter greens, such as kale, also complement the smoothness of polenta "mush".

My favorite way to serve it?  Grilled!  It takes some pre-planning as it needs to set up for a few hours before being firm enough to grill, but thinking ahead is worth it!

And the best thing to serve with grilled polenta?  Take your pick.  I served Greek Baked Beans next to it.  The next blog post will show some amazing shrimp served on top of it.  A simple fresh tomato sauce with parmesan cheese is heavenly.

The sky is the limit.

Polenta is an easy dish to make.  I have included a rough recipe but the beauty of it is adapting it to  your mood and feel.

1 1/2 cups cold water
1/3 cup yellow cornmeal (I used large grind)
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 T butter

Whisk together water, cornmeal, and salt in a 1-quart heavy saucepan and bring to a boil over moderate heat, whisking constantly. Reduce heat to low and cook, stirring frequently, until very thick, 20-30 minutes.  Take the polenta off the fire and add the butter or any other add-ons.  (If desired)  Stir until melted.

If grilling, spread the polenta into a greased baking sheet.  Chill, uncovered, until firm, at least an hour (I prefer 3 or more).

Cut the polenta in any shape you desire.  I like squares.  Feel free to brush a little olive oil on both sides if you like it crispy. When fire is medium-hot, grill polenta pieces in a grill basket until crusty, about 5 minutes on each side.


  1. Holy yum, this sounds delicious. We made some ragu with parmesan polenta the other night, and I was smitten ... so much better to make your own than buy the premade stuff! Now if I only had a barbeque ...

    And yay you! No TV was the best thing I ever did ... until I discovered Hulu. But then I made a rule that there would be no laptop in bed (THAT was tough).

    Congrats on the changes, and YES I want you to share. Good luck!

  2. Hey Leslie - if you have a cast iron pan, or any heavy bottom skillet, you achieve the same "crust" on the polenta and pretend it is grilled ;)

    Let me know....