Recipe: Smoky Polenta Fries

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The polenta fries I’ve tried in restaurants are soggy and uninspiring. I thought I’d boost the flavor with fresh rosemary and smoked mozzarella and work on the crisp-factor. The key to crispness is cutting the delicate polenta into 1/2″ matchsticks followed by a flour dredge and then always into hot oil (you’ll need to reheat the oil between batches). I served my fries with warm tomato sauce, but ketchup works well, too. These are vegan if you omit the cheese.

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Servings: 4 (makes about 50 fries total)
Time: About 30 minutes active; 3 hours total (or chill polenta overnight)

3 cups vegetable stock
1 cup polenta (coarse cornmeal)
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 ounces smoked mozzarella, grated
vegetable or canola oil (I used about 35 ounces, but depends on the pot you use, you want 1″ of oil, fries soak up about 2 ounces oil per batch)
1/2 cup flour

1. In a medium pot heat stock until boiling. Slowly pour polenta in and whisk constantly until incorporated. Turn heat to low and cook 15 minutes, stirring occasionally.

2. Remove polenta from the heat and stir in salt and smoked mozzarella. Spread in a 13″ x 9″ pan coated with cooking spray. Chill in the fridge at least 2 hours or overnight, uncovered.

3. Heat 1″ oil in a large pot until it reaches 375 degrees.

4. Carefully cut the polenta into 4″ x 1/2″ pieces. Dredge each fry through flour, coating all sides.

5. Carefully drop fries into the hot oil—about 10 per batch. Fry for 2–3 minutes then remove to a paper towel-lined plate. Let cool slightly. Serve warm.

Writer Bio: Adrienne D. Capps loves food AND is a vegetarian! These things are not mutually exclusive in her world. She is passionate about eating, drinking, cooking, teaching, reading about food and growing food. Her goal with her food blog, Vegetarianized.com, is to open up the world of vegetarian cooking and eating to the veg-friendly and the veg-curious in an accessible way. She promises never to try to convert or make you feel guilty—just that eating less meat can be part of a healthy, fun and, above all tasty, lifestyle.