So, about these polenta fries…
If you’ve followed along with me for any length of time, you might be a little surprised to see ‘cheesy’ in a recipe of mine. And if I’d left ‘fried’ in the recipe name as I originally planned, you might have fallen out of your seat from shock.
As part of my healthy eating, I tend to leave the fat and calories for dessert, but every once in awhile, one must succumb to the deliciousness that is cheesy, crispy polenta fries and cross her fingers that she can skip out on dessert.
Whether or not I actually skipped out on dessert is a completely different story and one which I don’t want to talk about right now. Thank you for understanding! 😉
Crispy Polenta Fries
Apparently thyme is in season from spring to fall (thank you, Google), but the recent batch I brought home from the market was so much more fragrant than anything before it.
Thyme can be very universal in cooking, whether you add it to pasta sauces, marinades, grilled meat and veggies, or roasted potatoes (my favorite). I’ve also become obsessed with drying fresh herbs to add to my spice and seasoning drawer!
Sadly, I’ve had pretty terrible luck growing herbs here in LA, much to my husband’s chagrin. So I’m stuck buying them at the store, but the fresh thyme adds so much freshness to dishes, like these crispy polenta fries, it won’t slow me down.
How to get Crispy Polenta Fries
The trick to getting crispy polenta fries is being patient while the moisture cooks out of the fries to get those crispy edges. And if you’re using a metal pan, make sure you’re using a metal spatula to turn these morsels or the crispy part might stick to the pan and not your fries. Nobody wants that!
I’m also sad to report that you’ll need PLENTY of hot oil to make sure the polenta is frying, crisping, and detaching from the pan.
What to serve with polenta fries?
Polenta just screams Italian food to me, so when I whipped these up, I added Italian herbs and made a marinara dip. Get the recipe for easy homemade marinara sauce here or simply buy your favorite premade variety!
More Polenta Recipes
- 6 Cups water
- 2 teaspoons salt
- 2 Cups cornmeal I used Bob's Red Mill
- 1 ½ Tablespoons butter
- 2 teaspoons thyme leaves ¾ teaspoon dried
- ¼ Cup shredded cheddar cheese
- ¼ Cup shredded parmesan cheese plus more for garnish
- olive oil/vegetable oil
- Bring water to boil in large pot. Whisk in salt and cornmeal. Reduce heat to low. Cook about fifteen minutes until thick consistency is reached, stirring occasionally to prevent sticking on the bottom of the pan. Add butter, thyme, and cheeses.
- Pour polenta in square baking dish. Flatten top. Cover and refrigerate at least two hours.
- Remove polenta from refrigerator. Cut into sixteen sticks.
- Heat large frying pan over medium heat. Add oil to thinly cover bottom. Add sticks to hot oil. Let cook on each side until golden brown, adding oil as needed.
- The first side will take close to ten minutes to brown as the heat removes water from the polenta sticks. Subsequent sides will take less time.
- Remove finished sticks to paper towel to drain. Serve with parmesan cheese and homemade marinara sauce.