I love this recipe. I would leave it at that but then you wouldn't have a mindlessly entertaining anecdote to read. Well, I hope my posts are at least mindlessly entertaining but that may be a bit optimistic! You already know about my affinity for this fabulous gluten free grain called polenta. I have prepared it in its simplest form and even gotten creative with my polenta fries recipe. But I can't stop there! If polenta has a permanent place in the pantry then I am determined to always find a tasty new gluten free alternative. I would compare this recipe to super fancy, gluten free nachos. The thinly sliced polenta cakes get all toasty and crunchy when you bake them. I should tell you the small dabs of butter makes each polenta cake moist, but I absolutely hate that word. As much as I hate the word mayo (and the product itself!). In that case, I will say these polenta cakes are drenched with the right amount of butter to make them superior to cheesy nachos. Add the freshly grated Parmesan cheese and you have a fabulous snack or side dish. But be careful if you are a snacky person like me. It can be hard to stop. #betchacanteatjustone
Serves: A lot! It varies by thickness of the cut but can yield 1 to 3 dozen slices
Prep Time: 5 minutes
Cook Time: 25 to 30 minutes
Fresh From the Market:
- 1/4 c. Butter*
- 1/2 c. Freshly Grated Parmesan Cheese
From the Pantry:
- 1 tube Precooked Polenta
From the Spice Rack:
- Dash of Sea Salt (optional)
- Dash of Black Pepper (optional)
- Large Baking Sheet
- Preheat the oven to 350 F degrees.
- Slice the tube of polenta into thin slices, depending on your preference. My slices were about 1/2 inch thick because I used them as a side dish (which I then proceeded to snack on anyway). If you are making a snack, I suggest about 1/4 inch or 1/8 inch thick.
- Arrange the sliced polenta on the baking sheet. Add a small dab of butter to each round and sprinkle the salt and pepper across the sheet, if you want to add a little spice.
- Pop the sheet in the oven and bake for about 25 minutes or until buttery, crispy and golden. Take the baking sheet out and sprinkle the Parmesan cheese over each polenta cake. If you want melty cheese, pop them back in the warm oven or under the broiler for a few minutes.
So let's talk about butter. Yes, you heard me. Butter. This ingredient has had its fair share of ridicule and scrutiny over the years. It's seen butter days. Sorry, I had to do it. I've heard so many conflicting debates on butter, margarine, dairy free butter, raw butter - you name it - so I have decided to create my own point of view and move on. I like Kerrygold Irish butter, which is conveniently sold at Trader Joe's and other healthy-like markets. For awhile, I used Earth Balance because I thought it was "healthier" but I believe that makes sense for those who are strictly dairy free. I have majorly cut dairy out of my life (picture this: my favorite 9pm weeknight dinner of mounds of cheese, fruit, wine and chocolate. Those days are long gone now...sigh). I do still eat feta cheese, goat cheese and butter when I feel like it and indulge in some fancy cheese action when I have a weak moment. I've been told that raw butter is the best but it is not easy to find and it is expensive. We often forget that we need our healthy fats and for me, the occasional consumption of butter helps me meet my fat quota. Other sources include avocados, oils, nuts and fatty meats and fish. I know, it is crazy to say I have a fat quota when my whole life consisted of low fat and low calorie up until the past 2 years. But yes, healthy fats are good for you, in moderation!
I shared this very long stream of consciousness so you can decide what works best for you with this recipe. If you are dairy free, you will need to swap both the butter and the Parmesan cheese for DF alternatives. Otherwise, just eat the damn butter. It tastes amazing. But do not use margarine. Don't get me started on margarine. Just don't use it. Please :)