When you thought polenta chips couldn’t get any better
Polenta chips are like chips on steroids, and your arm will certainly feel like is been pumped full of them after 30 mins stirring that gloppy pot of goodness. It’s hard work, I know, but oh-so-worth it.
One thing you should always do when you make polenta and especially polenta chips, is to pack as much flavour in it as possible, otherwise you will feel like you are eating the sole of your shoe sprinkled with parmesan. What I love about polenta is that you can flavour it with anything and i mean, anything you want – from old fashion (and let’s face it, boring) parmesan, to herbs, chilli, queso blanco, olives or even jalapeños.
I’m always thinking about new recipes and ways to cook tried and tested dishes with complete different ingredients, let’s just say I’m on the high side of the creative spectrum – either that or I’m easily bored and hard to impress.
The other day I made polenta chips with truffle oil, and we all know how much truffle oil and mushrooms love each other. Earthy, umami, rich… I’m salivating just thinking about it. So I decided to grind some dry shiitake and add them to the polenta when it was cooking and well, it was one of those moments when you ask yourself why on earth haven’t you tried this thing before in your 38 years of life. It was pretty damn good. And just so you know, adding shiitake powder to dishes (especially vegetarian and vegan dishes) takes the umami flavour to the next level, but we’ll leave that for another day.
SHIITAKE POLENTA WITH TRUFFLE OIL AND PARMESAN
Serves 4 as a main 350g fine polenta 7 dry shiitake mushrooms 1L milk or stock of your liking 1 cup parmesan Extra virgin olive oil Truffle oil Salt and pepper to taste
1 – The first step is to make the polenta. I recommend making it the day before and putting it in the fridge overnight so it can firm up properly. To begin, grind the dry shiitake to a fine powder in a spice or coffee grinder. Set aside.
2 – To make the polenta, place it in a pot with the shiitake powder and cover with the milk or stock. Cook over a medium-low heat stirring constantly so it doesn’t stick to the bottom. You will need to add more liquid as you go as it will absorb it pretty quickly. You can use water for this. Cook until the texture is soft and not grainy. The best way to check is to rub some between your fingers. A little bit grainy is fine but ideally we want it soft. It’s a proper arm workout, I know! The texture should be quite thick but not dry. Now it’s a good time to season with salt and pepper.
3 – When the polenta is ready, get a big tray out and spread it all over it. The layer should be about 2-3cm thick. Wait for it to cool down, then cover with cling film and place it in the fridge until needed, ideally, overnight.
4 – When you are ready to cook it, preheat the oven at 220C. Whilst the oven heats up, cut the polenta into chips and place them on another tray. Drizzle with olive oil and put in the oven. Depending on how powerful your oven is, they may take between 60-80 mins to cook. You will have to turn them over a few times during that time to make sure they brown evenly. When they are nice, golden and crunchy, take them out of the oven. Serve immediately with a sprinkle of salt and pepper, a good drizzle of truffle oil and a generous grating of parmesan.