5 Easy Tips For Perfect Polenta


Makes 4 to 6 servings

2 cups water
Kosher salt
½ cup coarsely ground cornmeal
2 tablespoons freshly grated cheese
2 tablespoons butter or extra virgin olive oil

Bring the water to a boil in a medium heavy saucepan over high heat. When boiling, add the polenta in a slow, steady stream through your fingers, whisking constantly so it doesn't clump up. If you get any lumps, mash them against the side of the pot with a wooden spoon and keep stirring. Lower the heat to as low a simmer as your stove can manage and cook, stirring occasionally, until the polenta is thick and shiny and begins to pull away from the sides of the pan, at least 45 minutes. You will find a crust beginning to form on the bottom and the sides of the pan when it is properly done. If they polenta becomes too thick, which often happens about 5 -10 minutes into the cooking process, add a bit more water.

When the polenta is done, stir in the grated cheese and butter or olive oil. Season with salt as necessary. Serve soft and warm.

Any leftovers can be reused the next day, either grilled or broiled:

Pour any leftover polenta into a glass pan. Allow to cool uncovered, then cover and store in the refrigerator until chilled and firm. When ready to use, top the cold polenta with whatever you desire, more grated cheese, perhaps some sliced salami or sopresetta, and reheat in the over. Finish under the broiler to brown and melt the cheese.

For grilled polenta, cut it into 4 or 6 equal triangular portions, depending on how many you want to serve. Brush the polenta with olive oil on both sides. Grill until marked and heated through. Top with desired toppings, such as baccala, and serve.