Easy Pan Fried Polenta Recipe

This easy Pan Fried Polenta Recipe includes directions to make creamy polenta and then fry it up, bake it or grill it.

This easy Pan Fried Polenta Recipe includes directions to make creamy polenta and then fry it up, bake it or grill it.

Polenta is a versatile dish that can be prepared in any number of ways, and served at any meal depending on how it is prepared.

This fried polenta recipe serves as a blank canvas to build upon. From there, it can be customized to suit your own tastes.

As is, this version is delicious as a hot and filling side dish, or it can be chilled and then grilled or fried for a tasty treat later.

Growing up here in Canada, my dad would often fry up Polenta sticks for breakfast which we would smother in butter and maple syrup. I can still taste that crisp but creamy and sweet dish whenever I think about it.

You can even make creamy polenta while camping in a dutch oven over a campfire. It’s excellent stick-to-your ribs kind of food.

This easy Pan Fried Polenta Recipe includes directions to make creamy polenta and then fry it up, bake it or grill it.

What exactly is Polenta?

Polenta originated in Northern Italy as peasant food, and typically made with other beans and legumes. Here in North America, it is made exclusively with ground cornmeal, and is very similar to grits, but made with yellow cornmeal rather than white (hominy).

In the grocery store you may find corn meal labelled as dry polenta.

Polenta can be served warm as porridge, or you can let it set, and slice it to fry or grill. Fried or grilled Polenta ends up creamy inside with a satisfying crispy crust outside. Read on for my fried polenta recipe.

This easy Pan Fried Polenta Recipe includes directions to make creamy polenta and then fry it up, bake it or grill it.

Is Polenta Gluten-Free?

While the main ingredients of polenta are naturally gluten-free, it cornmeal is sometimes at risk for cross-contact with gluten products.

Choose cornmeal brands with the gluten-free label to ensure that your Polenta is Gluten-Free.

If you are adding any mix-ins to this polenta recipe, ensure they are also gluten-free.

This easy Pan Fried Polenta Recipe includes directions to make creamy polenta and then fry it up, bake it or grill it.

Can I Make it with Chicken Stock or Milk instead of Water?

Some traditionalists argue that water is the only acceptable choice for making traditional polenta because it yields the lightest, most distinctively corn flavor.

On the other hand, some argue that chicken or vegetable stock infuses the polenta with more flavor, while others prefer the richer and creamier taste associated with using milk or half & half.

Simply replace the 5 cups of water in this recipe with your choice of liquid if you want to experiment.

This easy Pan Fried Polenta Recipe includes directions to make creamy polenta and then fry it up, bake it or grill it.

What Can I add to Polenta?

Beyond your cooking liquid, Polenta can be customized further by adding grated Parmesan cheese, butter, lemon zest, and/or any combination of fresh herbs and spices like basil or Italian Seasoning.

This easy Pan Fried Polenta Recipe includes directions to make creamy polenta and then fry it up, bake it or grill it.

What do you Eat with Polenta?

Serve polenta in place of potatoes or rice with lunch or dinner, it’s a great option to serve with any protein! Try serving creamy polenta with my Braised Pork Roast Recipe or with my Apple & Rosemary Stuffed Pork Chops.

Creamy polenta can be a meal on its own when topped with mushroom sauce or pasta sauce.

Serve grilled, fried or baked polenta triangles in place of breads or buns. Think soups, chili and anything else you might want to sop up some liquids.

For breakfast, serve fried polenta with butter and honey or fresh fruit for a delicious meal the whole family will enjoy.

This easy Pan Fried Polenta Recipe includes directions to make creamy polenta and then fry it up, bake it or grill it.

How to Make Classic Creamy Polenta

Yields: 6 Servings | Prep time: 5 mins | Cook time: 45-50 mins

Ingredients:

  • 5 cups water
  • 1 c. medium or coarse polenta or cornmeal
  • Sea salt, to taste
  • (Optional) 2 T. unsalted butter

Directions:

Heat water in a large saucepan over medium-high heat until almost boiling.

Once water starts to bubble, whisk in cornmeal and continue stirring continually until it starts to thicken.

Season with salt, to taste, and stir to combine.

Reduce heat to just below medium and continue cooking, stirring every 4-5 minutes, until the polenta pulls away from the side of the pan and the cornmeal becomes soft and tender, approximately 40-45 minutes.

Remove from heat and stir in butter, if using. Taste and add a pinch of salt, if desired.

Serve creamy polenta immediately as a side dish or top with your favorite savory main dish.

This easy Pan Fried Polenta Recipe includes directions to make creamy polenta and then fry it up, bake it or grill it.

How to Make Pan Fried Polenta

Grease an 8” x 8” glass baking dish with olive oil (or spray with a non-stick cooking spray).

Pour polenta into your baking dish in an even layer. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate until polenta is firm to the touch.

Remove from refrigerator and gently loosen around the edges of the baking dish with a butter knife.

Place a paper towel over the top of the polenta and hold it in place with your hand.

Gently turn the baking dish upside down while supporting the contents with your hand. Tap the bottom of baking dish until polenta is released.

Carefully transfer the solid sheet of polenta to a cutting board. Cut the polenta into quarters, then slice polenta quarters in half diagonally to create 8 wedges.

To fry, add a little olive oil to a large, non-stick skillet over medium-high heat.

Add the polenta wedges to your frying pan and cook until golden brown with a crispy exterior on each side, approximately 1-2 minutes per side.

Remove from heat and serve immediately with your favorite toppings or marinara sauce to dip.

This easy Pan Fried Polenta Recipe includes directions to make creamy polenta and then fry it up, bake it or grill it.

How to Make Grilled Polenta

Repeat steps above to create 8 wedges.

To grill, spray a grill pan or the grates of a gas grill with non-stick cooking spray. (Clean the gas grill grates with a stiff wire brush before spraying).

Cook until each wedge is golden brown and nice grill marks appear. Flip and repeat on other side.

Remove grilled wedges from heat and serve immediately with your favorite toppings, in salads, or with a bowl of hot soup or chili.

How to Make Baked Polenta

Repeat steps above to create 8 wedges.

Preheat oven to 200°C.

Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.

Place the wedges in a single layer, on the lined pan.

Drizzle over with a little oil, then bake in the oven for 15 minutes or until puffed and golden.

Easy Pan Fried Polenta Recipe
Yield: 6 Servings

Easy Pan Fried Polenta Recipe

Prep Time: 5 minutes
Cook Time: 50 minutes
Total Time: 55 minutes

This easy Pan Fried Polenta Recipe includes directions to make creamy polenta and then fry it up, bake it or grill it.

Ingredients

  • 5 cups water
  • 1 c. medium or coarse polenta or cornmeal
  • Sea salt, to taste
  • (Optional) 2 T. unsalted butter

Instructions

Heat water in a large saucepan over medium-high heat until almost boiling.Once water starts to bubble, whisk in cornmeal and continue stirring continually until it starts to thicken.

Season with salt, to taste, and stir to combine.Reduce heat to just below medium and continue cooking, stirring every 4-5 minutes, until the polenta pulls away from the side of the pan and the cornmeal becomes soft and tender, approximately 40-45 minutes.

Remove from heat and stir in butter, if using. Taste and add a pinch of salt, if desired.

Serve creamy polenta immediately as a side dish or top with your favorite savory main dish.

To Make Pan Fried Polenta

Grease an 8” x 8” glass baking dish with olive oil (or spray with a non-stick cooking spray).

Pour polenta into your baking dish in an even layer. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate until polenta is firm to the touch.

Remove from refrigerator and gently loosen around the edges of the baking dish with a butter knife.

Place a paper towel over the top of the polenta and hold it in place with your hand.

Gently turn the baking dish upside down while supporting the contents with your hand. Tap the bottom of baking dish until polenta is released.

Carefully transfer the solid sheet of polenta to a cutting board. Cut the polenta into quarters, then slice polenta quarters in half diagonally to create 8 wedges.

To fry, add a little olive oil to a large, non-stick skillet over medium-high heat.

Add the polenta wedges to your frying pan and cook until golden brown with a crispy exterior on each side, approximately 1-2 minutes per side.

Remove from heat and serve immediately with your favorite toppings or marinara sauce to dip.

To Make Grilled Polenta

Repeat steps above to create 8 wedges.To grill, spray a grill pan or the grates of a gas grill with non-stick cooking spray. (Clean the gas grill grates with a stiff wire brush before spraying).

Cook until each wedge is golden brown and nice grill marks appear. Flip and repeat on other side.

Remove grilled wedges from heat and serve immediately with your favorite toppings, in salads, or with a bowl of hot soup or chili.

To Make Baked Polenta

Repeat steps above to create 8 wedges.

Preheat oven to 200°C.

Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.

Place the wedges in a single layer, on the lined pan.

Drizzle over with a little oil, then bake in the oven for 15 minutes or until puffed and golden.

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Nutrition Information:

Yield:

6

Serving Size:

1 triangle

Amount Per Serving: Calories: 140Total Fat: 6gSaturated Fat: 4gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 2gCholesterol: 15mgSodium: 235mgCarbohydrates: 19gFiber: 2gSugar: 0gProtein: 3g

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This easy Pan Fried Polenta Recipe includes directions to make creamy polenta and then fry it up, bake it or grill it.

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