A couple of weeks ago, I was having a quick catch-up meal with one of my friends. Following a visit to this restaurant last year with a party group, I chose Pesto in a Pub, an Italian restaurant down a country lane in Wilsden, Bradford. As we were eating before 7pm and there was only two of us, we were still able to use the lunchtime menu, which was £7.95 for any three dishes listed. As someone who can eat just about anything (within reason), I decided to do something different and go for three of the vegetarian dishes on the menu - tagliatelle pasta, mushrooms, and polenta chips. While tagliatelle and mushrooms are things that I eat at home often (with mushrooms often in curries), I don't think I'd ever had polenta before. It was delicious. It had the crispy outside and soft inside texture of normal potato chips, but much healthier. Better still, it would be suitable to make for vegans (or even just friends with lactose and gluten intolerances, polenta being naturally gluten free). I found this recipe for polenta chips at taste.com.au, and I hope to use it quite a bit in the future.
Ingredients (to make 4 servings)
Olive oil, to grease
2 litres (8 cups) vegetable stock
1 x 500g pkt instant polenta (cornmeal)
Vegetable oil, to deep-fry
1 tablespoon finely chopped fresh rosemary
Sea salt flakes & freshly ground black pepper
- Lightly grease two 22 x 30cm baking pans with olive oil with a brush.
- Bring the stock to the boil in a large heavy-based saucepan over medium-high heat. Use a balloon whisk to stir the stock. Gradually add the polenta in a thin steady stream, whisking constantly until all the polenta is incorporated into the stock. Reduce heat to medium and cook, stirring constantly with a wooden spoon, for 2 minutes or until mixture thickens and polenta is soft. Remove from heat.
- Pour the polenta mixture evenly over the bases of the prepared pans and use the back of a spoon to smooth the surface. Cover with non-stick baking paper and set aside to cool. Place in the fridge for 4 hours or overnight to set.
- Turn polenta onto a clean work surface. Use a sharp knife to cut off the curved edges. Cut lengthways into 2cm strips. Cut each strip into 8cm-long pieces.
- Add enough oil to a large heavy-based saucepan to reach a depth of 6cm. Heat to 180°C over high heat (when oil is ready a cube of bread will turn golden brown in 15 seconds). Add one-sixth of the polenta chips and deep-fry for 5 minutes or until golden brown. Use a slotted spoon to transfer chips to a plate lined with paper towel. Repeat, in 5 more batches, with the remaining polenta chips, reheating oil between batches.
- Sprinkle polenta chips with rosemary and season with sea salt flakes and pepper, and serve immediately.