Guilty pleasures. Don’t we all have them? One can’t eat healthy all the time! If we didn’t have our guilty pleasures we’d all go crazy, I’m sure. I have a few guilty pleasures. Potato chips are one. Tortilla chips with salsa are another. Due to the extreme cold of the last few days I have been craving some warm, comforting, guilty-pleasure type of food but completely unmotivated to brave the subzero windchills. I looked in my cabinet and it’s getting rather sparse but I did have some polenta. It reminded me of an episode of Everyday Italian with one of my heroes, Giada De Laurentiis from back in the day where she made fried polenta. Bingo!!
Polenta is Italian in origin and is ground cornmeal usually boiled with water or some kind of stock until thickened. Kind of like grits.
Frying the polenta was super easy because in this case, I didn’t actually have to boil up the polenta. I bought an organic pre-made/packaged brand which had all natural ingredients, so I didn’t mind the purchase.
I coated the bottom of a pan with olive oil and turned the heat onto medium-low. I sliced the polenta into half-inch circles and pan fried them for about 5 minutes or until I noticed they turned a nice golden brown on both sides. When they were done I placed them out on paper towels to absorb some of the oil and let them cool. In the meantime, I put a handful of spinach into the pan and let it wilt for a hot second. Literally. Gotta have a veggie!
So, let me tell you: fried polenta is a gift; a little, warm, golden, sunshiney gift. It’s my new guilty pleasure that brings warmth to the dead of winter. I had to stop myself from eating all of it. They came out crunchy on the outside and soft on the inside and best when still warm. In my opinion, they didn’t need anything extra but they would be great with salsa or in a salad with spinach and goat cheese. They’re definitely something to get creative with. They’d be an awesome Superbowl snack too! Yes, they’re fried so not the healthiest in the world, but it’s a nice treat on a cold day and I guarantee if you serve them at a party they will be polished off in a matter of seconds.