Crispy Herbed Polenta Bites - KCTV5

Crispy Herbed Polenta Bites

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Crispy Herbed Polenta Bites
courtesy of Amanda Hart, "Roaming Fork"
Crisp on the outside, soft on the inside and bursting with flavor, these little polenta pillows are loved by all.  It's naturally vegan and gluten-free, too!  They even taste great cold, so they can be made ahead.  As always, you can stir in just about anything after cooking the polenta.  I sometimes add feta and roasted red peppers. Be forewarned...they are addicting!
Serves 4-6 

1 1/2 cups dry polenta (sometimes called grits)

4 cups broth (or water) 

1/2-1 teaspoon red chili flakes 

1 teaspoon salt (if not using broth)

2 cloves fresh garlic, finely minced

2 tablespoons olive oil, plus more for the pan 

about 1/2 cup fresh herbs, I used: 1/4 cup chopped basil, 2 tablespoons fresh thyme and 2 tablespoons fresh rosemary

Marinara sauce for serving (optional)

In a large pot, bring the broth (or water) to a boil, along with the oil, red chili flakes, garlic and salt (if needed).  

Once boiling, reduce heat to medium-low and very slowly add the polenta, whisking constantly as you add it.  If you pour it in too quickly, it will become clumpy.  If it's splashing too much, turn down the heat.  Cover the pot and cook over medium-low heat until it is thick and creamy, about 5-7 minutes, stirring occasionally.

Remove from heat and whisk in the fresh herbs.

Pour the polenta mixture into a square dish (about 9" or 8").  Spread as evenly as possible.  Allow the mixture to cool for 1-2 hours.  It will become firm as it cools.

Turn the dish upside down onto a cutting board to remove the polenta "cake."  Cut the polenta into 1" cubes, by cutting long 1" wide rows vertically and then 1" rows horizontally.

Heat a skillet over medium-high heat with 1-2 tablespoons oil added.  Pan fry the polenta cubes on each side for a few minutes (until golden and crispy).  You may need to add more oil, especially as you add a new batch to the pan.

Serve hot or cold with or without marinara sauce on the side.

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