Quick Polenta

My word!  After weeks and weeks of waiting, I finally manage to have dinner outside yesterday evening. It looks like summer has arrived in London, which is a very good thing. Out comes the rosé wine (a little naff, but I love it), wooden terrace table and a range of quick summer suppers. In fact, it is shaping up to be a nice weekend with cloudless blue skies over London.

And what was on the menu for such a momentous occasion? I made a simple polenta, quickly pan-fried it and served it with a warm-ish, thick tomato sauce and a side salad (just broad leaf parsley, chopped tomato, courgette slivers and a little bulgar wheat and a lemon-olive oil vinaigrette). All very light and it suited the warm evening.  What is particularly nice at the moment about sitting in the garden is that the leaves still have the bright green freshness of early summer. Suggests months to come of trips to the seaside, holidays and weekends lazing in the heat in the park. Fingers crossed that it’s going to be a good one this year!

For the polenta (to serve 2):

• 100g instant polenta
• salt, to taste
• pepper, to taste
• 1/2 teaspoon of paprika
• 25g butter
• 25g cheese (parmesan, pecorino…)

Cook the polenta according to the instructions on the packet (as a rule of thumb, usually 200ml water to 50g polenta).  When you add the dry polenta, add the seasoning and spices. You might need to add more water as the polenta is cooking to keep it from becoming too dry. Once ready, stir in the butter and cheese. Pour into a tray and allow to cool. It should set quite firmly. Tip: pour into a non-stick cake tray, then thanks to the butter, it will just come right out.

To cook, simply cut into pieces and fry gently with a little olive oil over a gentle heat until lightly brown. If you like it slightly charred, keep cooking as long as needed.

Serve with tomato sauce and shavings of cheese.

For tomato sauce:

• 2 small onions, very finely chopped
• 2 cloves garlic, very finely chopped
• 2 x 400g tins of chopped tomatoes (use best quality you can)
• salt, to taste
• pepper, to taste
• pinch of sugar
• 1/2 teaspoon of paprika

Fry the onion in a little olive oil until golden. Add the garlic and stir until it is cooked. Add the tomatoes and seasoning. Stir well, then simmer over a gentle heat until the sauce reduces and becomes thick.

Worth making? Oh, I am being a bit repetitive with all my recommendations to try this and that. But this really is a nice supper for the evening, and has the benefit of being gluten-free (and would become dairy-free if you skip the cheese too), so it’s useful to have in the back pocket. It also makes a nice change from pasta when you want something simple, and the polenta can easily be prepared a few hours or even the evening before. If you’re having it as a summer dish, just remember to serve slightly warm rather than hot.


Filed under Recipe, Savoury

2 responses to “Quick Polenta

  1. Tes

    It looks so stunning. The recipe looks simple. I must try this.

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