I love polenta, but until now I had only ever eaten it in its simplest form: as a deliciously comforting cheesy cornmeal porridge. As of yesterday, I can happily confirm that it is equally scrumptious when made into crispy oven baked chips. It takes a little bit more time, but the results are absolutely worth it. The outside of these chips becomes wonderfully crispy while the inside stays soft and melty. By way of ketchup, I whipped up this roasted red pepper salsa. Like so many great things in life, this sweet and smoky sauce pretty much just happened to me. I was toying around with the idea of serving my chips with strips of marinated red pepper, when I suddenly found myself plugging in my stick blender and blending those veggies to perfection. As it turned out, that was definitely one of my better impulsive decisions.
Ingredients (for 2):
for the polenta chips:
125 ml (1/2 cup) polenta
500 ml water (2 cups)
1 stock cube
60 g grated Parmesan cheese
knob of butter
for the salsa:
2 red peppers
3 tbsp olive oil
1 tbsp white wine vinegar
1 clove of garlic, finely chopped or pressed
- First make the polenta by bringing 500 ml of water to the boil with 1 stock cube (which is usually enough stock for 200-250 ml, which is fine because we don’t want it to get too salty since we’re adding salty cheese later on). When the water has come to a rolling boil, add the polenta while stirring with a wooden spoon. Keep stirring until the polenta is thick and smooth.
- Take the pan off the heat and stir butter, cheese and black pepper through it. Taste for salt and adjust according to your liking.
- Line an oven dish or tray with plastic foil and turn out the polenta in it. Smooth it with a spatula or the back of a spoon until you have a 1cm thick square or rectangular layer.
- Cover with another layer of plastic foil and leave to cool. Once cooled, put it in the fridge for at least 30 minutes to allow it to set.
- Preheat the oven to 200 degrees celsius.
- Turn out the polenta on a chopping board and cut it into chips.
- Transfer the chips to a baking tray lined with baking parchment. Make sure they have enough space because they tend to expand a little and stick to each other when they are in the oven. Bake for 30-40 minutes. At this point they will be nice and crispy on the outside and soft and melty on the inside.
Red Pepper Salsa
- Roast the red peppers under the grill for 10 minutes per side. Remove the blackened skins, seeds and stalks and chop finely.
- Transfer to a bowl and add olive oil, vinegar, garlic, salt and pepper. Blend until smooth using a (stick) blender or food processor.
Tip: For a full, balanced meal, do as I did and serve your chips alongside caramelised fennel, with red onion and capers.