I don’ t know about you, but I feel like polenta is a generally untapped source of amazing deliciousness. Most of the times I’ve had it, it’s been rather flavourless and the preparation left something to be desired from the texture. I’m on a mission to make this easy-to-prepare dish fun, fresh and exciting! These fries are inspired by my husband’s hatred of olives and my petulant love of them. One day a long time ago, someone said you only had to eat thirteen olives to acquire the taste for them. I was the fussiest child and I fought my way through all my dislikes, with olives being the strongest and the most stubborn. I set to work with thirteen garlic-stuffed olives. It was hard, but after that harrowing experience, the next time I passed the olive bar in the grocery store, they smelled and looked a little more appealing. Anyhow, let’s just say many a single-person meal has been constructed around garlic stuffed olives since then. My husband has so many allergies, we’re fighting to make olives available to him and this side dish was a step in that direction.
What they are is a crispy, frugal, fuss-free vehicle for any number of flavour combinations – and that is pretty damn fun. You can also have a blast mixing and matching dipping sauces! I went for a straight sriacha sauce – but that’s because the kitchen still isn’t entirely unpacked.
Black Olive and Sun-Dried Tomato Polenta Fries
Serves 6, as a side
1 cup cornmeal (polenta)
2 1/4 cups water
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 cup flat leaf Italian Parsley, finely chopped
8 sundried tomatoes, packed in oil and finely chopped
1/4 cup black olives, chopped finely
Pinch of thyme, oregano and marjoram
1/4 all purpose gluten-free flour (or corn flour), for dredging
Canola oil, enough to cover the bottom of your skillet (or other neutral oil)
Combine the cornmeal and water in a medium sauce pan and whisk over medium high heat until boiling. Reduce heat to medium and let simmer until it becomes creamy, about 10 minutes. Add the parsley, sundried tomatoes, olives and herbs and whisk to combine. Pour mixture into a wax paper lined 8 x 8 inch baking pan and let set until firm in the refrigerator. This should take about an hour, but I guess it will depend on your fridge. Once the polenta is firm, carefully remove from the pan and slice into fry shaped rectangles. Heat, over medium heat, enough canola oil to cover the bottom of your skillet. Lightly dregde each polenta fry in a little bit of flour and put into the hot oil. Fry on each side for a couple of minutes, until a very light golden-brown colour has been achieved. Serve warm, with whatever dipping sauce you like.