Rich in corn flavor, this simple and tasty polenta pairs well with full-flavored dishes.
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If you really want to learn how to cook, then you need to practice the concepts taught in this lesson. We've compiled some "edible exercises" along with some supporting recipes that will help reinforce what was taught in this lesson.
Purchase a package of medium-grind, quality cornmeal. Using the cold method, cook ½ cup of cornmeal, using a 5:1 ratio of liquid to cornmeal (2 ½ cups liquid to ½ cup cornmeal). Make sure the liquid you use (either water, stock or a combination of both) is well-seasoned. Follow the instructions in the lesson and cook the polenta until the cornmeal is fully hydrated. Finish the polenta by stirring in a knob of butter or some heavy cream and/or some freshly-grated Parmigiano-Reggiano. Serve as a side dish or top with your favorite sauce.
Experiment with different ratios, grinds and brands to see what type of cornmeal you prefer most. Remember that you can infuse flavor by adding different liquids and seasoning to the cornmeal. You can also sweat some onions and/or garlic prior to cooking the polenta (see the recipe example below for Soft Polenta). Keep in mind that you want to enhance – not mask or overpower – the flavor of the corn.
Have some fun by trying out the Polenta on the Board (see recipe below). Follow the recipe or smother it with your favorite sauce and toppings.
Try some of the sauces, vegetables, meats, braised dishes or vegetables listed below over basic polenta.
For a fancy breakfast or brunch, try steamed eggs with polenta, sausage and roasted red peppers.
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Delicious polenta is topped with crispy pancetta, a perfectly-cooked poached egg and a drizzle of homemade pesto.
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