Fried parmesan polenta with tomato harissa

Fried parmesan polenta with tomato harissa

By
From
Moorish
Serves
8
Photographer
Mark Roper

Fiery harissa is one of those condiments that go well with so many things. As is so often the case with chilli-based foods, it has a strangely addictive quality, and you will probably end up wanting more and more of it! Here, its peppery heat is the perfect counterpoint to the rich buttery smoothness of polenta. We also like to add parmesan for a cheesy tang, and then to cut the thickened, cold polenta into chip-like wedges and fry them to a crunchy crispness. Provide a bowl of harissa as a little dipping sauce and serve the polenta with a mixed-leaf salad.

Ingredients

Quantity Ingredient
2 litres water
1/2 teaspoon salt
300g polenta
75g parmesan, grated
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
salt and pepper
plain flour, for dusting
100ml vegetable oil, for shallow-frying

Tomato harissa

Quantity Ingredient
1 tablespoon Red harissa
1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
400g chopped tomatoes
salt and pepper

Method

  1. Pour the water into a large heavy-based pan (we use a Le Creuset, which is ideal) and bring to the boil. Add the salt, and with the water bubbling away, pour in the polenta in a fine, steady stream, stirring very well with a stiff whisk until it all incorporates into a wet grainy mass. Now turn the heat down low to cook. The polenta will take 20–30 minutes of cooking and steady stirring, which, we must admit, requires both strong muscles and determination. What you want to end up with is a completely smooth yellow mass that comes away from the sides of the pan in a smooth ball. It is a little tedious, but the polenta needs all that time to lose its graininess and you can console yourself with the knowledge that you end up with an infinitely superior result than you will ever get from the instant variety.
  2. When the polenta is cooked, remove the pan from the heat and stir in the cheese and butter. Taste it for seasoning and add more salt if necessary, and pepper to taste.
  3. Pour the polenta into a 30 x 24 cm baking dish lined with greaseproof paper, smooth the surface with a wet spatula and leave it to set. When completely cold, tip out onto a work surface, peel off the greaseproof paper and cut the polenta into any shape you like (small diamonds, thick-cut wedges and so on). Lightly dust with the flour before frying.
  4. To make the tomato harissa, blend together the harissa paste, olive oil and the tomatoes to make a thick sauce. Season to taste with salt and pepper.
  5. We like to serve this polenta cut into thick chips as an accompaniment to a hearty braise or stew. You can either deep-fry or shallow-fry them until they turn a lovely golden colour. Serve with the tomato harissa on the side as a dipping sauce.
Tags:
Malouf
Greg
Lucy
Moorish
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