I certainly hope you all managed to clean up your Christmas lunches and get under shelter before the storm hit yesterday afternoon! I love the progression of a balmy Sydney summer storm – the flawless burningly bright-hot blue skies at the beginning, the stifling, cloying humidity as the clouds begin to ominously roll over, the rumble, the pelt and smatter of precipitation. I live for that moment that the heat and humidity breaks; giving way to a luxuriously cool breeze and the wonderful aroma of wet vegetation.
I spent Christmas Eve and Christmas Day predominantly alone. There’s a myriad of reasons for that, but I was more concerned with stocking up for supplies earlier on in the week, as the shops would be closed for about two days and I have friends dropping in and out for lunches, dinners or tea just to say hello, and I do love playing the host (or show-off, as I’m honest with myself).
I had made a batch of these the week before, and fell in love. The original recipe comes from Daily Life, and suffice to say – I am really hooked on these. Rather than opening some oven-ready wedges from a packet, these are so much more gourmet in that you can add your own ingredients. Cheesy ricotta and Parmigiano folded through, fragrant chopped rosemary, the tang of sea salt and the heady fragrance of truffle oil.
After wolfing down the “test serving”, I used up the residual ricotta and made a double batch; cutting the polenta once it had set and dividing the uncooked fries into freezer bags. I actually think the texture is improved after freezing, as the outside crisps up while the insides stay soft and fluffy. Dee-licious.
You will need:
- 125ml milk;
- 1 clove garlic, peeled and minced finely;
- 160g dry polenta;
- 1 tablespoon butter;
- 100g ricotta;
- 2 tablespoons grated Parmigiano-Reggiano, plus extra, to serve;
- Large pinch sea salt flakes, plus extra, to serve;
- 1 teaspoon finely chopped fresh rosemary leaves;
- 1 tablespoon olive oil;
- Truffle oil (optional…or not really optional)
In a medium saucepan bring 500ml of water, the milk and the garlic to the boil over a medium heat. Gradually add the polenta, while stirring, until thickened. It will thicken quite quickly; over about 5 minutes to 10 minutes.
Then stir in the butter, ricotta and Parmigiano-Reggiano.
Spread the mixture on a foil-lined baking tray in a layer about 1cm thick. Sprinkle with the rosemary and the salt, pressing it gently into the surface with your hands. Chill until set, roughly 30 minutes to an hour.
Preheat the oven to 200 degrees Celcius. Once set, cut the polenta into 1cm wide strips.
Grease the lined baking tray with a little oil and then spread the polenta chips out. Drizzle or spray the chips with a little oil as well, then bake for 20-30 minutes until golden brown. Flip them over halfway through the baking time.
Serve piping hot, with the extra sea salt, Parmigiano and a drizzle of truffle oil.