Sunday, April 17, 2011
I was trying to come up with some savory ideas for the next Atlanta Underground Market and decided to try out some sauteed polenta triangles. You start with prepared polenta and let it set in the fridge. Then fry it up on both sides to make it crispy...in theory, anyway.
When attempting to figure out the ratio of cornmeal to water/milk I found that the numbers varied to all sorts of extremes. There was the Paula Deen recipe that called for 1/3 cup plus 4 cups liquid. My Better Homes and Garden cookbook said 1 cup cornmeal plus one cup liquid. Other resources online and in my cookbooks fit every spot in between. This was extremely frustrating. I didn't want to waste my time by choosing a ratio that just would not work for me.
I didn't go with the one to one ratio just for cost reasons. If that worked the best, then that would entail lots and lots of cornmeal. Even though I have a 5 pound bag from a grainery in North GA, I wasn't sure if I wanted to go so far as the one to one ratio.
So in the end, I went with a 1:4 ratio...1/2 cup cornmeal plus 1 cup milk and 1 cup water. I heated the liquids to a boil, then slowly added the cornmeal and cooked until thickened. I poured the polenta into a 11x7 inch glass baking dish that had been coated with cooking spray. It came about 1/2 inch or so up the sides. I put a foil cover on and stuck it in the fridge for a day.
I heated a few tablespoons oil in a skillet and went to sauteing the cooked polenta, which I had cut into triangles. The pieces did not crisp up as I had intended. Perhaps I need to make another coating on the outside to make them nice and crispy.
In the end, the sauteed polenta tasted alright, but was nothing spectacular. Adding cheese on top might help, but I don't think I want to go in that direction any longer. I changed focus and will be using my cornmeal to make cornmeal crepes instead. I like that idea much more and a test run turned out just right. Then I can fill the crepes with some pulled pork or black eyed pea gumbo or even some pimento cheese. I love that idea much more for the upcoming market. I want to think a bit more about what side I want to serve with my crepes. Not using electricity makes things a bit more difficult. If I did have access to electricity, then I would easily make my own fries or tater tots. But that is a bit more difficult to do with a butane burner. So I will need to spend some time thinking it over. I have two weeks to get it just right in my head.