Why polenta fries won’t replace french fries but are worth making anyway

Izy Hossack, author of “Everyday Delicious: Super Tasty Breakfasts, Brunches, Mains, Desserts and Snacks” (Hardie Grant Books, $29.99), knows that her polenta fries are not going to replace regular french fries.

French fries will never be replaced with polenta fries, but these are a good dish to make when you’re out of potatoes or looking for a slightly different texture from an oven fry. Contributed by Izy Hossack

Polenta fries are for the times when you want to make oven fries but don’t have any potatoes, the British cookbook author explains in her new book. “They aren’t a replacement for potatoes. … They are, however, much more exciting in terms of texture and flavor potential. Take a regular fry: What can you do? You can season it with spices or herbs. That’s about it. Take a polenta chip, however, and you have access to the actual ‘meat,’ so to speak, of the chip.”

She suggests adding various cheeses or purees to the polenta while you cook it, and then you get to decide how you want to season the outer layer, too. Here, she’s added garlic, ricotta and Parmesan to the polenta before it’s baked, and then rosemary and truffle salt on the outside just before the polenta “fries” go in the oven. The result? A nice harmony of a cheesy, soft center encased by a crisp outer layer. No ketchup required.

Baked Rosemary Polenta Fries

1/2 cup milk
1 clove of garlic, peeled and minced
1 cup dry polenta
1 tablespoon unsalted butter
1/2 cup ricotta
2 tablespoon grated Parmesan
Large pinch of salt
1 teaspoon dried rosemary
Large pinch of truffle salt or regular salt
1 tablespoon vegetable oil

In a large pan, bring 2 cups water and the milk and garlic to a boil over a medium heat. Gradually add the polenta, while stirring, and simmer until thickened, between 5 and 15 minutes. Then stir in the butter, ricotta, Parmesan and salt.

Spread the mixture on a foil-lined baking tray in a layer roughly 1 1/2-inch thick. Sprinkle with the rosemary and salt, pressing it gently into the surface with your hands. Chill until set, roughly 30 minutes to 1 hour.

Heat the oven to 400 degrees. Once set, cut the polenta into 1 1/2-inch wide strips. Grease the lined baking tray with a little oil and then spread the polenta fries on top. Drizzle or spray the fries with oil, too, and bake for 20 to 30 minutes, until golden brown, flipping them over halfway through the baking time.

— From “Everyday Delicious: Super Tasty Breakfasts, Brunches, Mains, Desserts and Snacks” by Izy Hossack (Hardie Grant Books, $29.99)


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