So a few weeks ago, I was doing my grocery shopping and I wanted to “up my game” by buying new things. Because let’s be honest, by going once a week grocery shopping, who’s got time to make a different list each time ?! But there comes a time when you become fed up with tortilla, pasta or rice (sounds familiar ?)
So there I was, wandering in the many departments of the shop I usually do my grocery shopping in, trying to find the new food that would excite my taste buds. I had time – being a student with a rather light timetable, I had the luxury of going on a Monday morning, so it was really calm and actually enjoyable – so I did not rush myself. And there, I found some polenta. I used to pass by it without really considering buying it because I had no idea how to cook it. but I thought that buying it would actually force me to google some recipe ideas… And so I did.
What I found got me really excited, because of several reasons :
- first, polenta is quick to cook. And when I say quick, I mean two minutes in boiling water quick !
- secondly, polenta is a great substitute to mash, which, if you’re like me and try to make things from scratch because you want to avoid added artificial and packaged food, is great news !
- finally, polenta can be cooked in several forms, including… patties !!
So how does this work exactly ? Well, it is pretty simple.
For a polenta mash.
You just have to get some water boiling in a pan, then progressively pour the polenta in the pan while continuously whisking it gently. You’ll see how quickly it thickens, and depending on the consistency you want to have, just take it out from the hotplate or add more water. Then season to taste.
For Mediterranean polenta patties.
First, you just have to make a “ratatouille” as the French call it. So chop some tomatoes, bell peppers, zucchinis, mushrooms, onions, eggplants… Really anything that sounds “mediterranean” that you like, and add spices such as garlic, basil, turmeric (that’s my version of it). Then leave that to simmer for at least 30 minutes.
Then, take out another pan, put water in it. Once it is boiling, progressively pour the polenta in the pan while continuously whisking it gently. Once you get a rather thick consistency (should take about 3 minutes), add all the veggies in it, and gently mix them into the polenta mixture.
Take a dish (I used a regular, rectangular one, like the one I use to make brownies), and pour the polenta-ratatouille mixture in it. Let it sit for about 1h. Once it has cooled down, you can cut your polenta into squares, rectangles or even animal-shaped nuggets if you have the right cookie cutter to do it !
Take a pan, pour some olive oil in it, wait 5 minutes for the oil to get hot, and throw your polenta patties in the pan for about 3 minutes on each side. You can add some more salt or spices if you wish.
NB : I never tried it, but you can also cook them in your oven if you prefer ! About 200° for 10 minutes.