Saturday, July 9, 2011

No-Fuss Creamy Polenta

This was the first of my recipes to test from season 11 of America's Test Kitchen.

We served the No-Fuss Creamy Polenta with Pan-Seared Scallops.

Serves 4 as a main course with a topping or 6 to 8 as a side dish.

We used the recommended brand of coarse-ground degerminated cornmeal, Bob's Red Mill Corn Grits a.k.a. Polenta. ATK recommends the avoidance of instant and quick-cooking products as well as whole-grain, stone-ground and regular cornmeal.

While cooking the polenta should do little more than release wisps of steam, especially after the first 10 minutes. If your stove at its lowest setting is to hot use a flame tamer or heat defuser to reduce the BTUs transferred to the pot.

  • 7 1/2 cups water
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons table salt
  • 1 pinch baking soda (most important/secret ingredient)
  • 1 1/2 cup coarse-ground cornmeal (5:1 water to cornmeal)
  • 4+ oz Parmesan cheese, grated (about 2 cups), reserve some for serving
  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • ground black pepper
  1. Bring the water to a boil in a heavy-bottomed 4 quart saucepan over medium-high heat. Stir in salt and baking soda.
  2. Slowly pour the cornmeal into the water in a steady stream while stirring back and forth with a wooden spoon.
  3. Continue constant stirring until it comes to a boil, about 1 minute.
  4. Reduce to the lowest setting. (See note above.)
  5. After 5 minutes, scrape the sides/bottom of the pan while whisking the polenta to smooth out the lumps, about 15 seconds.
  6. Cover and continue to cook for about 25 minutes, steam should be coming out is wisps, not bubbling. It is done when the polenta is loose and barely holds it shape, slightly al dente.
  7. Remove for heat and stir in most of the Parmesan and butter. Season with pepper to taste.
  8. Cover (off heat) rest for 5 minutes. Serve with the remaining Parmesan to garnish on the plate.

See also the video segment that includes information about buying scallops and how to determine is you have wet or dry scallops. Or watch the entire episode 1105 video. Note: these video are available while the TV show is begin aired but are moved into the "members only" content section of the website a year or so later.

1 comment:

Jaya said...

We couldn't stop eating this, so good with the cheese and everything.

Cut up a fresh tomato and mix it in with some hot sauce.

How about polenta instead of cream of wheat for upma? Mix in the curry and vegs after the polenta is done. (Cook ingredients separately.)