My love for polenta is intense, I really love all carbs, the way they carry flavor and make the most of sauces and gravies. And no starch I think has better potential at doing this than polenta. By its very nature it is porous and expands to allow more flavor in. Soft polenta is delicious but often needs to be made just before serving, which most often doesn’t work for me. Here we have gone for a firm polenta, it is still meltingly creamy, but holds its shape and can be made days ahead of time, and then cut and fried just before serving, or even a few hours before serving, though they will lose their crispy edge.

  • 60ml (½ cup) olive oil
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 teaspoon fresh thyme leaves
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • ¼-½ teaspoon ground black pepper
  • 700ml (3 cups) vegetable stock
  • 480ml (2 cups) soy cream
  • 480ml (2 cups) almond milk
  • 250g (2 cups) cornmeal (fine ground polenta)
  • Four, and olive oil for frying
  1. Line a 20x30cm (9×13 inch) baking pan with baking paper and set aside.
  2. Place a large saucepan over medium heat, once the pan is hot add the olive oil. Once the oil is shimmering, add the minced garlic, thyme leaves, salt, and pepper and stir until the garlic is fragrant, about 30 seconds. Add the stock, soy cream, and almond milk, and bring the whole mixture to the boil.
  3. Once the liquid is boiling, turn off the fire, and with one hand slowly sprinkle the cornmeal into the liquid, while with the other using a wire whisk, constantly whisk the mixture.
  4. Once all the cornmeal has been evenly incorporated into the liquid, put it back on a very low fire, and stir constantly, until the mixture starts to bubble.
  5. Pour into the prepared pan, and using a spatula smooth out the top, refrigerate until firm and cold.
  6. Cut the chilled polenta into 12 squares, and then cut each diagonally into triangles. Dust each triangle lightly with flour.
  7. Heat a large saute pan, once hot add olive oil, once the oil is shimmering, fry the polenta triangle on all sides until lightly browned and heated through to the center. Make sure to not overcrowd the pan, you may need to do this in batches. The sooner you serve these the better. But that said, there is nothing some hot gravy over room temperature polenta can’t solve.