Repurpose Leftover Polenta Into A Crispy Snack

When most people think of Italian food, their minds immediately go to pasta and pizza. Another noteworthy Northern Italian food that deserves some credit is polenta. Although it can be considered an unpresuming peasant food, it has made its way to high-end kitchens. Made from coarse stone-ground cornmeal and typically sold in the same packaging as 1lb ground beef, polenta is similar to grits and has a porridge-like texture (via Dalallo). Even though this versatile food has come a long way since its humble beginnings, it's still a satisfying comfort dish that serves as the perfect base for many foods.

Making polenta only requires cornmeal and water, and though marscapone can give your polenta more depth of flavor, some salt and butter go a long way. According to NYT Cooking, taking the time to make polenta properly is key. So your labor of love doesn't go to waste, low and slow is the name of the game. And once your polenta achieves the creamy, soft texture that you love, be sure to repurpose it!

A crispy alternative

While polenta can be served in various ways, you're missing out if you don't try crispy polenta. If you are making creamy polenta to serve for dinner, first let it cool to room temperature, then place and cover any leftovers into a flat-bottomed container to firm up. While this polenta can be reconstituted into a creamy side with a bit of butter, we suggest you leave it solid and crisp it up!

Because the polenta will take the shape of its container as it cools, Food & Wine notes that it will be easy to cut into any size and shape you desire. Once formed, pan-fry them until they are crispy, and top them with a dip, cheese spread, herbs, or sauce. Ottolenghi suggests a light and delectable avocado yogurt dip for this crunchy snack. Inside The Rustic Kitchen suggests cutting them into thin, long rectangles for polenta fries that will be crispy on the outside and creamy on the inside. Who knows, you might prefer them to French fries!