I’ve seen polenta fries on countless restaurant menus, but never endeavoured to order them. I thought if you wanted to eat fries, just eat fries! But now I understand: polenta fries are an entirely different food experience from the classic. A thick, satisfying crunch on the outside, light-yet-creamy center, perfectly seasoned all the way through… a dreamy stick!
Waste not, want not! Use the side trimmings from the polenta block to make croutons. Simply chop them into similar-sized chunks, brush with a little oil, and spread out on a baking sheet. They’ll cook a little faster than the fries themselves, so keep them in their own area on the baking sheet so that you can easily remove them sooner. Store leftovers in the fridge and re-crisp before serving. Use the croutons to top the Late Summer Soup, or in the seasonal salad for crunch.
Polenta Fries (and Croutons)
- 1 ½ cups / 250g cornmeal organic, non-GMO if possible
- ½ cup / 40g nutritional yeast
- 1 Tbsp. dried oregano
- ½ tsp. cracked black pepper
- ½ tsp. fine sea salt
- 3 cups / 750ml vegetable broth
- 1 cup / 250ml plant milk of your choice
- 2 Tbsp. coconut oil divided
- 1 fat clove garlic finely minced
- In a medium mixing bowl, combine the cornmeal, nutritional yeast, oregano, pepper and salt. Set aside.
- In a large saucepan, bring the vegetable broth to a simmer. Add the milk, one tablespoon of the coconut oil and garlic. Whisk to combine and wait until the coconut oil is melted and the whole mixture is lightly simmering.
- Slowly pour in the cornmeal mixture, whisking constantly. Once incorporated, stir every so often for 5-7 minutes. The mixture should be creamy and smooth. If it’s way too thick to stir, add a little more water, a quarter cup (60ml) at a time, just until you can stir. Taste and adjust seasoning.
- Pour mixture into a prepared baking pan and smooth out the top as evenly as possible. Place somewhere to cool for 30-60 minutes.
- Preheat oven to 450°F / 230°C. Place the remaining coconut oil in a small dish in the oven to melt while it is preheating. Once melted, brush a rimmed baking with coconut oil.
- Slice the cooled polenta evenly into batons or French fry sticks. Place them on the baking sheet with a little space between them (if they’re too close together, they’ll get soggy). Brush with the remaining melted oil. Bake for about 25 minutes, then flip and bake for another 15-20 minutes until golden (if you want them crispy on all sides, keep flipping them and cook a little longer!).
- Remove from pan and let cool just slightly before serving. Store cooled leftovers in the fridge for up to five days. Reheat in an oven or toaster oven for about 5-7 minutes until warm and crisp.