This recipe was always a favorite in my house growing up but I haven't had it in years since I went to college. One of my housemates had some corn meal that needed using, so I decided to whip up a batch and it is so easy and delicious it has quickly become one of my go-to recipes!
Step 1: Ingredients and Supplies
-2 cups corn meal
-3 1/2 cups water
-salt and pepper
You will also need some plastic wrap or aluminum foil, a sauce pan and a frying pan.
Step 2: Cook the Polenta
To cook the polenta, put 2 1/2 cups of water in the sauce pan on high, put some salt in it and wait for it to boil. While you're waiting, but the corn meal and the other cup of water in a bowl and mix it together. Once the water in the sauce pan is boiling, add the corn meal and water mixture and reduce the heat to medium.
Then stir! Keep stirring the polenta so it doesn't stick to the bottom of the pan or burn. As you are stirring, the polenta should start thickening up. Keep stirring until the spoon you are using can stand up in the polenta without being held up.
Step 3: Roll Polenta
I've seen usually seen fried polenta made in rectangles, but for some reason, my family always made it in a circular shape. I'm not sure how my parents did it, but this is how I made mine! You can use plastic wrap, parchment paper or aluminum foil for this step, I've tried all three, but my favorite it aluminum foil. Lay out your foil (or whatever) on a flat surface and spoon out all the polenta onto it. Pick up both sides of your foil so the polenta slides towards the middle and becomes cylinder shaped. Wrap the polenta up to maintain this shape, folding the ends in as you go. You should end up with a cylinder of polenta wrapped securely in your wrapping of choice. Put your polenta log in the fridge for a few hours and go do something else. Maybe wash the sauce pan that you used to cook the polenta, since if you let it dry for too long the corn meal will stick to it and it will take some serious work to get it clean. I try to make mine enough ahead of time so it has time to sit overnight, or make it in the morning and eat it for dinner.
Step 4: Slice and Fry the Polenta
Once the polenta log has had some time to firm up in your fridge and is totally cold, you can take it out and unwrap it. It should hold its shape by itself. Cut it into slices about 1/4 inch thick. It's ok if a few of them break, you can sort of squish them back together while you fry them. Heat up some olive oil in a frying pan and put the slices of polenta in, making sure they don't touch or they will stick together. Cook them for a few minutes, until they are golden brown, if you want you can add salt and pepper, then flip them and cook them until they are golden brown in the other side. Don't burn them!