A friend recently asked me for a good polenta chip recipe that wouldn’t turn into a ‘big ball of blob’. I’ve cooked soft polenta in the past to go with a nice rich, slow cooked beef dish and I am yet to have a blobby disaster. That being said, I have used instant polenta which is quicker and, by all accounts, easier to prepare.
I have no doubt that ‘authentic’ polenta is better on flavour and texture, however it is also more time consuming. At this stage in my life, with 3 small people at my feet, the convenience of instant wins. Not to mention some big name chefs use instant polenta in their recipes so I take that as approval to proceed.
So back to the polenta chips. For such a simple snack, there are many ways to go about preparing them. You can cook the polenta in stock or milk or a combination of both, you can dust the chips before cooking for a crispier result, then of course you need to choose how you’ll cook them – deep-fried, shallow-fried, pan-fried, oven baked….
Considering the chips need to hold well, I decided to cook the polenta in three parts stock to one part milk. I dusted mine in semolina, you could also use polenta (or skip this step altogether). I left the polenta to set overnight and then pan-fried half of the polenta chips and oven baked the rest. While pan frying the chips is a little more time consuming, I think the result is better. The chips take on a more golden colour and are fluffier on the inside (I found the oven baked ones a bit dry).
I made a herby yoghurt dressing to go with the chips and it worked well. Parmesan + herbs = you can’t really go wrong. If you have any of this dressing left over, it also goes perfectly with chicken, fish, in a sandwich…
Polenta chips with herby yoghurt dressing
250g instant polenta, I used an Italian brand called Moretti
1 cup of full cream milk
3 cups chicken stock
Good pinch of salt
Some cracked pepper
2 heaped tsp of butter
1 cup of parmesan
2 cubes of goats cheese (optional)
Semolina or polenta for dusting
For the dressing
A couple of handfuls of herbs, I used parsley, mint and basil
1 cups of natural greek yoghurt
1 clove of garlic, minced
Juice of half a lemon
A splash of red wine vinegar
Salt and pepper
Place a layer of grease proof paper in a large rectangle dish.
Put the chicken stock and milk in a saucepan with the salt and pepper. Place on high heat and when the liquid just starts to boil, start to pour in the polenta – you need to do this in a steady stream. Turn the heat down to low at this point. Continue to add the polenta, stirring until the mixture thickens and comes away from the sides of the pan. This will only take a couple of minutes.
Add the butter, parmesan and goats cheese and mix through.
Tip the polenta mixture into your prepared dish and smooth out with a spatular. Place in the fridge until firm (I left mine overnight).
For the dressing, whizz your herbs up with a couple of tablespoons of olive oil. I did this in a small blender. Add a little more oil if needed until you have a slightly runny green sauce. Place yoghurt in a bowl and add the green herbs and oil, garlic, lemon, a splash of red wine vinegar and salt and pepper. Mix well and set aside until the chips are ready.
Preheat your oven to 150 degrees celsius. Cut the polenta into batons and dust with semolina. Heat oil in a fry pan over medium – high heat and add the chips in batches, cooking on all sides until golden. Once cooked, place them in the oven to keep warm while you cook the remaining chips.
Serve chips straight away with the herby yoghurt dressing.