Wednesday, January 9, 2013

Even Easier Polenta

I know I've gone on and on about the various virtues of polenta made in the oven. "I'll never make it any other way," I declared -- that was before my oven was a rainy walk across the yard. I've found another way -- perfect for a crowd or a party -- my beloved crock pot. Simple.
First I coated the ceramic insert with spray olive oil -- thinking about a potentially sticky clean up later. I poured 3 cups of polenta and 8 cups of water into the pot along with a glug of olive oil, 2 TB of butter, and more than a pinch of salt. I set the temperature to high, covered the crock pot and gave the contents a whisk every half hour or so - to keep out polenta creamy and smooth. After about two hours (the polenta was really starting to thicken) I added a good sized handful of grated cheese, a few more TB of butter and S&P to taste. After 4 hours on low (I could have let it go for maybe 8 or 10 hours if I had a party waiting) I topped James' polenta with roast chicken, pan-fried cauliflower (with garlic and pine nuts) and piquant Italian style salsa verde, a chopped mixture of capers, anchovies, parsley, arugula, sage, garlic and olive oil also great on steaks and sandwiches.
Polenta makes great leftovers. I love it for breakfast with eggs or chilled, sliced and fried as a side dish treat later in the week.

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