Eat More Plants.

Polenta Fries…!!

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Ok…why hasn’t anybody told me about this before?!!!

I feel deprived, like I’ve been lied to my whole life. How have I never had these?

I love polenta but I never thought about making it into fries. This is such a nice treat! Crispy on the outside and creamy on the inside. Wow. What more can you ask for?

I also made some spicy ketchup to go along with these beauties, a Martha Stewart recipe. SO worth the work if you’re a sauce person. I love making sauces and dips!

Polenta Fries:

1 c fine ground cornmeal
2 c water
1 T olive oil
1 1/2 T nutritional yeast
1 t garlic powder
1/2 t dried oregano
1/4 t salt

Oil a 9×9 pie pan or other similar sized pan.
Whisk all the dry ingredients together in a bowl.
Bring water to a boil in a medium pot.
Reduce heat and add olive oil.
Slowly add in dry ingredients, whisking constantly to ensure no clumps form.
Whisk over low heat for a few minutes, until mixture become thick and smooth.
Pour mixture into the greased pan.
Spread with spatula to even out.
Let polenta cool, uncovered.
Cover and refrigerate for at least two hours, until polenta is very firm.
Heat 1/4 inch of oil to medium-low in a non-stick or cast iron pan.
Flip polenta out of your pan and onto a cutting board.
Cut into fry shapes, about 1/2 inch thick.
Lay one “fry” in the oil to check if the oil is hot enough. It should start bubbling around the fry as soon as you drop it in. If the oil starts splattering and bubbling too much, just turn the heat down a little or take the pan off of the heat for a minute. If the oil doesn’t bubble, it’s not hot enough yet. Wait a few more minutes before you put the rest of the fries in.
Fry for at least 5 minutes, until the outer layer gets golden and crisps up.
Flip over carefully and fry another minute or so.
Drain on paper towels to absorb excess oil.
Eat! Enjoy! Get lost in a world of creamy crunchiness.

Spicy Ketchup:
1 28oz can of plum tomatoes
1 1/2 t olive oil
1 small onion, chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
3 T dark brown sugar
4 cloves
1/2 t whole cardamom seeds
1/2 t whole black peppercorns
2 whole star anise
1 small cinnamon stick
1 T dry mustard
1 bay leaf
1 1/2 T cider vinegar
1/4 t cayenne pepper
1/2 t salt
1 1/2 t lime juice

I advise you to use this as a guide. I realize that everyone won’t have all these ingredients in their cupboard. I was missing a bay leaf. Don’t let it deter you! Use what you have. It’ll work.

Pass tomatoes and their juice through a food mill or large holed strainer.
(Save solids for salsa.)
Heat oil in a large saucepan or pot.
Add onion and garlic and cook until translucent.
Add tomatoes and brown sugar.
Mix well.
Take two layers of cheesecloth and cut a 7 inch square.
Place bay leaf, cinnamon stick, cardamom, peppercorns and star anise in the center of the cheesecloth, bring the ends together and tie with kitchen string or something else that won’t dissolve while cooking.
Add your spice bundle and mustard to tomatoes.
Cook over medium-low heat until reduced by two thirds, about 25 minutes.
Add vinegar, lime juice, cayenne and salt.
Reduce heat to low.
Cook for another 10-15 minutes, stirring to prevent burning.
Remove spices and squeeze out any liquids back into the pot. Discard the spices, you can’t do much with them now…
Use an emulsion blender or transfer to a blender to purée your ketchup and get rid of any chunks. I like mine to be very smooth.
Simmer over low heat for at least an hour, stirring occasionally. It me about an hour and thirty five minutes to get the ketchup-y consistency I wanted.
Remove from heat and let cool.
Store any unused portion in the fridge.

This “ketchup” is so good, it almost seems like an insult to call it that. This would go great with potato fries as well!

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2 Responses to “Polenta Fries…!!”

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