yellow corn grain flour for cooking polenta porridge, dry yellow polenta porridge close-up
What Sets Apart Polenta And Cornmeal?
Both polenta and cornmeal are grains derived from corn, and while they appear similar, they have distinctive qualities. Choosing one depends on the flavor and consistency you want.
Hailing from Italy, polenta is coarsely-ground yellow corn that is typically cooked as a standalone dish or side. It can be used in sweet, savory, or spicy dishes.
When prepared fresh, polenta is like a porridge you can serve for breakfast with fresh fruit. For a savory side dish, you can add garlic and top it with vegetables or meat.
For creamy polenta, cook it on the stove for 30 minutes with water, chicken broth, and/or milk until it reaches a mushy consistency. Season with salt, butter, spices, or cheese.
Cornmeal comes in several varieties. White cornmeal is the least sweet and used for corn tortillas, while yellow cornmeal is sweeter and perfect for cornbread.
You can use coarse cornmeal to coat fried foods, or as a topping for blueberry or apple crisp. Finely-ground cornmeal is perfect for pancake and bread recipes.
For a slightly nutty, earthy flavor, you can partially replace wheat or bread flour with finely ground cornmeal. You can also use cornmeal for pound cake, scones, and waffles.