When we come across polenta fries, we are never able to pass them up! When I was a kid and visiting family in Italy, I have the fondest of memories eating these around a big table full of happy people. I had never had them before and was never able to get them off my mind. Fast forward, I now make these fairly regularly for my family (and we always choose them when we see them on a menu). Sometimes I’ll make the polenta specifically for this purpose, and other times I repurpose leftover polenta from the day before (note- I will consciously make far more than we need so the fries can happen the next day). In a pinch, I’ll also buy rolls of ready made polenta at the grocery store. These I’ll simply slice into discs which may be topped with fresh mozzarella for yummy little pizza-like bites. Either way, it’s hard to go wrong! Also, keep in mind these make wonderful croutons simply cut them into cubes before frying.
I do not recommend quick cooking/instant polenta. Thisbtends to be more fragile when frying.
The hot oil will splatter quite a bit. Please prepare with caution and keep children and pets away from the stove. And, there will be some clean up involved.
2 cups cooked polenta
Salt & pepper to taste
1/2 cup parmesan cheese
2 tbsp fresh Chèvre
1 tbsp olive oil or butter
herbs of choice
Olive oil and grapeseed oil for frying
1- Prepare Polenta per package directions, best to choose traditional over quick cooking. Season with sea salt and fresh ground pepper to taste.
2- Per every cup of cooked Polenta, add approximately 1/4 c (or more) fresh grated Parmesan (if vegan sub your favorite option). Stir in fresh Chèvre (optional), olive oil/butter, and herbs.
3- Line a baking sheet or rectangular pan with parchment or olive oil (glass works well here) and spread Polenta evenly across pan. Allow to cool and set. Cover and refrigerate for an hour or overnight.
4- Line a baking sheet with paper towel.
5- In a large cast iron or heavy bottomed pan or Dutch oven (6 quart size works well), add a combination of olive oil and grape seed oil (about 1/2 & 1/2) to measure about 1" and heat to about 300F.
6- Slice Polenta into fry-like sticks and carefully add to the hot oil in small batches, careful not to over crowd. ( Warning- there will be a lot of splattering. Keep children and pets away).
7- Allow to fry for about 5 minutes (they are still fragile at this point) and gently turn allowing to continue for about another 3-5 minutes, until golden brown all around. If you find they are cooking too quickly, lower heat, if taking too long, raise heat, but not above 350F.
8- Remove from oil with a slotted spoon or handled strainer and set on paper towel lined tray.
Serve with your favorite Marinara (or aioli) and a pile of Parmesan for dipping! They should be tender on the inside, crispy on the outside!
A little more well done and crispy is never a bad idea!