Up until recently I've avoided cooking with polenta. It's not because I don't like it, I've always enjoyed eating it at restaurants but it always feels like a bit of a faff. Plus I've never really known what to do with it. For some reason I decided to get some polenta in and experiment. Over the last few weeks I've made three wonderful dishes and I've wanted to share each one with you. So I thought I would do it all in one post, just in case there are any polenta haterz out there who don't want to see it all over my blog (why would you hate polenta??? Whyyy??)
I decided to keep my initial experiment simple, so I just did a quick Lemon Crusted Tofu. It was delicious and really, really easy. The only thing I'd do differently next time is marinate the tofu before I coat and fry it. If you don't have time to do this, don't worry, it'll still taste great! I served mine with creamed corn and salad
Lemon Crusted Tofu
- 1 block of tofu, drained and pressed
- Vegetable oil
- 3/4 cup of polenta
- rind of 1 lemon
- 2 cloves of garlic, minced
- 1 tsp of salt
- 1 tsp of cumin
- 1/2 tsp of cayenne pepper
- lots of black pepper
- 1/2 cup soya milk
- 2 tbsp cornstarch
- Slice the tofu into triangles and set aside.
- Whisk the soya milk and cornstarch in a small mixing bowl.
- Add the rest of the ingredients together in another bowl and you have your polenta crust all ready to go.
- Firstly, dip the tofu into the soy mixture before dipping into the crust. Make sure it's coated all over and put on a plate until you're ready to fry. Cover the rest of the tofu pieces.
- Heat some oil in a frying pan and add the tofu. Fry each side until it is crisp and golden. Try cook the tofu in batches, putting the fried up pieces on some kitchen towel so that you can soak up any excess oil and then serve!
Lemon crusted tofu with creamed corn and salad
I experimented with polenta again when our oven decided to pack in the other week. For some reason, as soon as the oven broken, I had the urge to use it. I wanted to cook quiches, pies, toad in the whole, a roast...anything, as long as it involved an oven. But I couldn't, and I got unimaginative with my dinners. All I cooked was pasta with a variation of sauces, and as much as I love pasta, I knew it had to stop. So I had an idea, I could make a cheezy polenta and top it with pasta sauce! GENIUS!
- 1 1/4 cups of polenta
- 4 cups of water
- 1 cup vegan cheeze, grated (I used Cheezly's new Parmesan cheeze)
- 1 cup soya milk
- 5 tbsp of soya butter
- A jar of pasta sauce with veggies/a homemade sauce/pesto and veggies. Whatever you want to top it with basically.
- Bring the water to boil in a large-ish pan (this makes a LOT of polenta!) and add the polenta. Whisk continuously on a low heat until it cooks (about 5-10 minutes).
- Heat up your sauce/topping
- Add the cheeze, soya milk and soya butter to the polenta and stir through for another 5-10 minutes or so. Add more soya milk if you want it creamier. You could even chop up some parsley and stir it in, that would be nice. I put a lot of black pepper in.
- Pour into bowls, top with your sauce and dig in!
The cheezy polenta was a hit. I loved it, my housemate loved it and I came home from work with a craving for leftovers. I'd spent the evening at the Drs and was in a little pain so we were feeling really lazy when it came to dinner. In the end we decided to fry up the cheezy polenta (it had set when we left it in the fridge) and have it with some griddled aubergine. This turned out to be a disaster as the cheeze and butter in the polenta started to melt as we were frying it. My genuis came into play all over again and I came up with the idea of...
Cheezy Polenta Toasties
- Leftover, firm, cheezy polenta, sliced
- wholemeal bread
- soya butter
- griddled aubergine or other veggies
- pasta sauce/chutney/pickle
- any other random ingredient you might want to add
- Butter one side of each slice of bread. Pop 1 slice of bread in a hot toastie maker, buttered side down and begin to build your toastie.
- I placed the polenta on first, topped with the aubergine and then added a little sauce.
- When you've built your toastie, top with the other slice of bread, buttered side up and get it toasted!
- Serve with salad if you're feeling healthy, or if you're like me, devour straight away!
Simplest recipe ever right? And also a great way to make your cheeze go further. It went all lovely and gooey when it was toasted, delicious! Apologies for the lack of picture here, by the time I went to take one the light was so bad that it wouldn't have done the toastie any justice, plus I was in uber amounts of discomfort and just wanted to eat.
So here are my three Polenta experiments. I hope you enjoy :)