These crispy, creamy Polenta Fries are like a party in your mouth. Forget the regular spuds; we're bringing the Italian flair with this unique twist on traditional fries. These Polenta Fries are baked which makes them much easier to make when entertaining. I bet they are about to become your new snack-time obsession.
Why These Polenta Fries Are Awesome
Fried polenta?? Yes please!
If you've never had polenta, you wouldn't know that it is very bland on its own. It CRAVES flavor!
So I took a few extra steps to infuse as much flavor as possible into my polenta fries. You definitely don't want to skip out on these extra steps.
What Are Polenta Fries Made Of?
Polenta fries are typically made from polenta, which is a type of Italian cornmeal that is boiled with water or broth to create a thick porridge-like mixture. Once the polenta has cooked and thickened, it can be poured into a dish or tray and allowed to cool and set.
The set polenta is then cut into fry shapes and either baked or fried until crispy on the outside. They can be seasoned with a variety of herbs and spices, and served as a savory snack or side dish. Some recipes may also include cheese, such as Parmesan or Gruyere, for added flavor.
What is the best cornmeal for polenta?
When it comes to making polenta, the type of cornmeal you choose plays a crucial role in the final texture and flavor of this beloved Italian dish. There are generally three main types of cornmeal to consider for making polenta:
- Coarse Cornmeal: Coarse cornmeal, also known as polenta or grits cornmeal, is the traditional choice for making authentic Italian polenta. It has a hearty, rustic texture and provides a satisfying, slightly grainy mouthfeel. Coarse cornmeal is excellent for achieving that classic, robust polenta flavor and texture, perfect for both soft and firm polenta preparations.
- Medium Cornmeal: Medium cornmeal is a versatile option that falls between fine and coarse varieties. It's a good compromise if you want a smoother texture in your polenta without it being overly fine. Medium cornmeal can be used for traditional creamy polenta or a firmer, sliceable polenta, depending on the cooking time and liquid ratio.
- Fine Cornmeal (Instant or Quick Polenta): Fine cornmeal, often labeled as "instant" or "quick" polenta, has a very fine texture and cooks up rapidly. This type of cornmeal is convenient for those seeking a quick polenta fix, as it takes only a few minutes to prepare. However, it may lack the depth of flavor and characteristic texture of traditional polenta made from coarser cornmeal.
Ultimately, the choice of cornmeal for your polenta depends on your desired texture and the time you have available for cooking. Traditionalists tend to favor coarse cornmeal for its authentic taste and texture, while medium and fine cornmeal offer flexibility and convenience. Experiment with different types to find the one that suits your palate and the specific recipe you're preparing.=
Polenta Fries Tips
- I use chicken stock instead of water (more flavorful)
- Added Parmesan cheese (more flavor)
- Sauteed onion and garlic before adding it to the polenta (added levels of yum)
- Added honey (for a sweet note which is delicious)
- Used fresh thyme (this adds a delicious fresh flavor)
If you're wondering about the texture of polenta fries, know that they are not going to be as crispy as a normal french fry. If you fry them, they would definitely be crispier but then they are not as healthy. So baking them allows them to be slightly crispy on the outside especially around the edges and super creamy on the inside.
Polenta itself, is made from cornmeal and water.
Polenta FRIES could actually be made from the same two ingredients. That is, if you want a bland 'corn stick' instead of a flavorful fry.
To add some flavor, many recipes out there use stock or milk to make it creamier and more flavorful.
You get the FRY SHAPE by allowing the polenta to cool and solidify into a large block. Then cut into fries and bake!
Baking Vs. Frying
Make Sure Your Polenta Consistency Is Perfect
This is important! You don't want your polenta to be TOO think or TOO thick! If you cannot pour it, it is too thick! If it is soupy, it is too thin!
Know that your polenta will thicken as time goes on so keep this in mind! When you pour it into your casserole dish right, get ready to smooth it down right away before it starts to solidify.
Other Fun Appetizers You Will Love:
Other fries you will love:
BAKED Polenta Fries With Thyme Honey
- 4 tablespoon Unsalted Butter
- ½ Cup Minced Yellow Onions
- 4 Cups Stock ((Chicken or Vegetable))
- 1 Cup Yellow Cornmeal ((Polenta))
- 1 ¼ Tsp. Salt
- 1 Tsp. Onion Powder
- ¾ Tsp. Garlic Powder
- 2 tablespoon Honey
- ½ Cup Parmesan Cheese
- To a large pot, add your butter and onions and allow to simmer over medium-low heat making sure not to burn the butter or onions.
- After about 3-5 minutes, add your stock and bring to a boil. Once boiling, WHISK in polenta slowly until fully incorporated. Make sure all lumps are broken down.
- Turn heat to medium-low and add in the onion powder, garlic powder, honey and salt. It will take some time to thicken so stir every 5 minutes or so. You do not want the polenta to stick to the bottom of the pan so use a flat wooden spoon to scrape the bottom every so often.
- In the meantime, grease a casserole dish including the sides. You can spray it with oil or use butter.
- After about 25-30 minutes, or when the polenta has thickened to a loose pudding consistency, turn off heat and add in your Parmesan cheese.
- Quickly pour your polenta into your casserole dish smoothing with the spoon. Make sure your polenta is evenly distributed in the dish.
- Allow to cool and set in the refrigerator for 2-3 hours (or overnight).
- Preheat oven to 425°F.Spray an area on your counter with cooking spray or lay down parchment paper. Then turn entire dish upside down onto the counter. It should slip right out.
- Using a pizza cutter or large knife, cut your polenta rectangle in HALf lengthwise. Then cut into individual fries. (I was able to get 26 fries, 2 rows of 13, that are about ¾"wide.) See photo to get a better idea.
- Bake on the middle rack for 20 minutes (or until golden brown on the bottom) then flip each fry over and bake another 5-7 minutes. I suggest using tongs to flip!!
- When light browned on both sides, remove and grate some fresh Parmesan cheese over top and garnish with thyme leaves. Serve with warm marina sauce on the side for dipping.