I was very excited about our trip to Barcelona, Spain because I was hoping to be inspired to create new and innovated tapas. As you all know, I enjoy having tapas dinner parties and this little inspiration will make a wonderful addition to my repertoire. Although we didn’t really have anything like it in Barcelona, I created this hors d’œuvres the first day of our return, I was just so darn excited about it. It’s relatively simple, and if you have polenta left over, even better. I made a small batch and cooled it with ice and our heat sucking stone (our Canadian Soapstone counters have the ability to suck heat out of anything you put on it). JT thought they were just OK, but I think he would love them if I had just put some bacon on them! I really enjoyed them; you can top them with anything, including prosciutto or even a crispy fried sausage slice but I just used some simple Sharp Cheddar with Horse Radish. You can also serve this warm or at room temperature. I froze the left over polenta squares and will use them for a future tapas dinner party! Cheers!
Polenta Cheese “Crisps”
Original recipe modified from Epicurious
- 1 1/2 cups cold water
- 1/2 cup polenta (not quick-cooking)
- 1/2 teaspoon chopped thyme
- pinch of salt
- 1/4 cup grated Parmigiano-Reggiano
- 1 tablespoons unsalted butter, cut into bits
- 2 tbsp canola oil for frying
- 25 small square slices of cheese, your choice
- Chives for garnish
- Spray an 8″ square baking pan with non-stick cooking spray.
- Combine water, polenta, herbs, and pinch of salt in a heavy saucepan and bring to a boil over medium heat, whisking. Reduce heat to medium-low and cook, stirring constantly with a long-handled wooden spoon, until polenta begins to pull away from side of pan, 10 to 15 minutes. Stir in cheese and butter until incorporated, then transfer polenta to baking dish, spreading evenly with a dampened rubber spatula. Chill until set, about 45 minutes (to speed up the process, I put a piece of plastic wrap over the top and lined ice cubes along the top. Once the cubes started to melt, I pulled them off and then carefully lifted the plastic wrap so the water didn’t spill onto the firm polenta).
- Turn out the polenta from the pan (should fall out easily, mine did) and cut into 2-3 cm (1.5″) squares. Preheat a cast iron frying pan and add about 2 tbsp canola oil. Fry one side until golden and then flip. Cover the second side with a 1-2mm slice of cheese, garnish with chives.
- Serve warm or room temperature.