Rosemary, Parmesan and sea salt polenta chips with Bloody Mary dip
It’s time to suspend your disbelief, polenta can be delicious.
If you’ve only tried it wet and have been left disappointed then this is the recipe for you. Like many other plain grains it can be completely transformed both in flavour and texture, in fact – if this dish doesn’t make you a lover of polenta, nowt will.
Polenta chips are a fantastic snack as I’ve made here and are very easy to do. Wet polenta is seasoned liberally with Parmesan, sea salt, black pepper and chopped fresh rosemary, then left to cool and set. Once chilled and roughly hacked up, the chunks are then dredged in more polenta grain and deep fried – the coating is crispy and deliciously chewy, the centres fluffy and creamy with the cheese and herbs. What’s not to like?
We like them as an accompaniment to steak in place of ‘proper’ chips, and also with my Italian style roast chicken in place of roasties, but they’d be perfectly placed anywhere from a slow cooker casserole to a leg of lamb on a Sunday lunch.
To accompany the knobbly, crispy cubes and complement their Italian flavours nothing beats Bloody Mary. It regularly makes an appearance round our place. Aye, I’m partial to one as a hair of the dog from time to time but it’s also a super versatile sauce or dip – and with steak there’s no sauce finer in my book (and as a full on lover of Bearnaise that’s saying something).
A snack or side dish for two : First the polenta chips
- 150g polenta grain, and more for dredging
- 600mls boiling water
- 60g grated Parmesan
- A handful chopped fresh rosemary
- Sea salt
- Black pepper
- A knob of unsalted butter
- Groundnut or vegetable oil for frying
For the Bloody Mary dip
- 250mls smooth pasatta
- 25mls vodka
- 1 tsp Worcestershire sauce
- 1 tsp Tabasco (if you like the hot stuff)
- A dash of celery salt
- A squeeze of lemon juice
- A small scrunch of sea salt and big grind of black pepper
- A glug of extra virgin olive oil
- Once you’ve measured out your polenta, give it a scrunch of salt, lots of black pepper and add the rosemary to it.
- In a saucepan pour the boiling water and keep it on a high heat, gradually pour the polenta grains into the water whisking as you go, working quickly and still whisking with one hand, add the Parmesan and butter, keep whisking for around 4 minutes (you may want to turn the heat down slightly as it bubbles quite fiercely) keep going until it thickens and then remove it from the heat.
- Pour the polenta mix into a non stick tray and let it cool for around 15 minutes. Lay a sheet of baking paper (shiny side up) onto a work surface and tip the polenta out onto it. Cover the polenta with another sheet of baking paper (shiny side down) and using your hands, press it out gently – you’re looking to get it to about an inch thick – use a rolling pin if you want. Leave it to cool.
- Into a saucepan place the Bloody Mary ingredients apart from the olive oil, and heat on a low heat, stirring occasionally.
- Bring your frying oil to 180°C.
- While it’s heating, scatter a few tablespoons of polenta grain into a mixing bowl. Roughly cut up the set and cooled polenta and gently toss it in the polenta grains.
- You may need to fry in a couple of batches to not crowd the pan (which will cause them to go soggy) and they need frying for 5 to 6 minutes, until they turn lightly golden and you can see and feel they’re crispy using a spoon.
- Remove from the oil and let them drain on kitchen paper, then serve with the Bloody Mary dip on the side, and a final light grating of Parmesan and a little sea salt.