Monday, April 16, 2012

4 Things To Do With Tube Polenta

     Polenta in a tube is a versatile, Clean grain. Just make sure to buy one with a low sodium count, and organic if possible. Polenta is cornmeal that has been boiled until it forms a cohesive mixture. In the tube, it can be found in flavored versions ( garlic, sun dried tomato, etc ) or plain, as you see below.

     Tubes of polenta area great pantry staple. They are shelf stable, meaning they will keep for a long time in a cool, dark pantry. They are versatile - a tube of polenta can be used in multiple different ways. They are healthy and wholesome: cornmeal is a Clean grain and an easy way to add fiber to your diet.

1. Make polenta "pizza" rounds:

Slice the tube of polenta into rounds ( thick or thin, but thinner works a bit better ) , top with a Clean tomato sauce , a mushroom slice, and a little melted organic mozzarella, and bake until warm and melty. Delicious!

2. Make polenta fries:

Slice a tube of polenta lengthwise-

     Spray a cookie sheet with non-stick oil spray. In a bowl gently ( gently! ) coat your polenta spears with a mixture of olive oil, salt, pepper, and whatever seasoning floats your boat at the time ( you may notice a can of Old Bay in the background of the pic... ) Place polenta in a single layer on the cookie sheet, and bake at 450 degrees until the polenta looks golden brown and crispy - about 30-45 minutes, more or less. 

3. Use it as a substitute for pasta in a layered casserole type dish ( like a veggie lasagna ). 

     Saute a variety of vegetables you like until tender crisp: onions, carrots, squash, peas, bell peppers, Slice the polenta ( you may need 2 tubes, depending on the size pan you are making ) into rounds, and spread in a layer into a baking dish sprayed with non-stick spray or lined with foil. Top with the veggie mixture, then a thin coat of Clean tomato sauce, then a thin layer of organic cheese. Repeat with another layer, and bake in a 350-375 degree oven until hot and bubbly. Let sit for a few minutes so it is more readily sliceable.

4. Grill it! 

      Nothing could be an easier side dish than grilling a few slices of lightly oiled and seasoned polenta. They take on a nice firmness when grilled, and are a perfect "on the side" to really any meat or fish. Easy peasy - I love my little countertop grill!