If you like polenta and its many variations, you will find grilled polenta crostini is a master recipe for countless appetizers and a base for hundreds of toppings. It is an ideal finger food and it will stand up to whatever topping you and your family enjoy. . . . like our Baccala Mantecato alla Veneziana.
For generations polenta was considered a peasant food and it was only later in life that I truly appreciated its taste and the effort it took to make it. I remember complaining whenever mamma would make polenta. I didn’t complain because of the taste . . . .
. . . . no I complained because it was such hard work for her.
She was barely five feet tall and her head just cleared the top of the pan. I remember her stirring and stirring the thick polenta in her beat up polenta pan. The pan looked like someone had taken a bat to it and beaten it until it wasn’t in its original shape. But mamma believed it was that pan that made her polenta so good.
We’ve changed the method in preparing polenta.
We believe it makes making all polenta much easier by adding the polenta to the liquid before it is hot. We have been using this method for a long time and our polenta has never been lumpy nor have we had a difficult time of the polenta seizing up too fast. This way it gives the coarse grains time to cook but still remain chewy.
Once the polenta is cooked we mound the polenta in a pan and spread it out in an even layer. Once it is cooled we cut it into squares and brush it with melted butter. We made it in a cast iron grill pan inside but it would also work on an outdoor grill or an indoor broiler — just so it is lightly toasted. Use this as a master recipe and add your preferred herbs and spices — make it your way.
Polenta is amazing — it can be served at breakfast, lunch, or dinner. It can be used as an appetizer or an ingredient in desserts. If you have a special way you like polenta let us know 🙂
- 2 cups chicken broth
- 1 cup milk
- 1 teaspoon coarse sea salt
- 1 cup polenta or coarsely ground yellow cornmeal ( do not use quick cooking)
- 4 Tablespoons unsalted butter ( 1/2 stick)
- 1/3 cup freshly grated Parmesan
- Freshly ground black pepper
- In a medium size heavy saucepan, with a whisk combine the stock, milk, salt and polenta and bring the mixture to a boil stirring frequently.
- Reduce the heat to low. Switch to a wooden spoon or paddle and continue to stir every 1 or 2 minutes for about 20 minutes, or until the mixture comes away from the side of the pan and the grains of polenta begin to soften. The mixture will be very thick and the spoon will be able to stand in it for a few seconds.
- Add 2 Tablespoons of butter, Parmesan and freshly ground black pepper, stirring until they are thoroughly mixed in.
- Remove from the heat.
- Spray an 8 X 12 pan with vegetable spray. Mound the polenta in the pan and then using a spatula spread the polenta out into an even layer. You may have to dip the spatula into hot water so that it does not stick to the polenta.
- Cover with a towel -- do not use plastic wrap because it will sweat. Let the polenta rest at room temperature until cool. Put in the refrigerator to chill.
- When ready to serve preheat an indoor broiler or an outdoor grill to high heat.
- Melt the remaining 2 Tablespoons butter. Cut the polenta into squares and brush with melted butter.
- Grill about 3 inches from heat for 4 minutes on each side, or until lightly toasted.
- Remove from heat, and put on cooling rack. Serve with desired topping.
- Inspired by Brigit Legere Binns "Polenta"
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