April 20, 2011 in Features

Offer polenta as a side dish

Fresh herbs, coarse cornmeal are key
Alison Ladman For The Associated Press
 
Associated Press photo

Slow-cooked polenta complements the Easter table. It is gently seasoned with fresh herbs.
(Full-size photo)

This simple, slowly cooked polenta is perfect for the Easter table. It is gently seasoned with fresh herbs. And if our choices of herbs don’t suit the rest of your menu, simply swap them for those that do.

Be sure not to use instant polenta for this recipe; you want coarse cornmeal. And if there are leftovers, simply pour them into a shallow dish, then refrigerate. The polenta will firm up and can easily be cut into slices. Those slices are delicious grilled (on a grill or in a grill pan), or can be topped with cheese and roasted or broiled.

Herbed Polenta

4 cups milk

5 cups water

1 teaspoon salt

2 cups polenta or corn grits

3 tablespoons chopped fresh oregano

2 tablespoons chopped fresh thyme

3 tablespoons chopped fresh mint

3/4 cup half-and-half

1 cup grated Parmesan cheese

4 tablespoons ( 1/2 stick) butter

Salt and ground black pepper, to taste

In a large saucepan over medium-high, combine the milk, water and salt, then bring to a boil.

While whisking, slowly pour the polenta into the pan. Continue whisking while the mixture returns to a boil.

Lower the heat to medium-low and cook, stirring occasionally, for 50 minutes.

Stir in the oregano, thyme, mint, half-and-half, Parmesan and butter. When the polenta is smooth, season with salt and pepper.

Yield: 12 servings

Approximate nutrition per serving: 207 calories, 8 grams fat (4 grams saturated, 33 percent fat calories), 10 grams protein, 24 grams carbohydrate, 22 milligrams cholesterol, 1 gram dietary fiber, 403 milligrams sodium.

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