Polenta Chips with Gorgonzola Dipping Sauce
Ooh la la.
Things aren’t as boring here as one would think for midterm season with a 7-month-old crawler in the house. Polenta chips with gorgonzola dipping sauce? How sexy is that? Ok, maybe not so sexy, but this is as sexy as our cooking has been for awhile now (see: chicken times 1000. Everything about this dish makes me happy. Everything. I’d never even made polenta before and I love how easy it is. (You just pour some cornmeal and water into a pot and stir for a few minutes.) I love how delicious this is, how easily adapted (herbs? spices? why not?) and I love that it’s best served with friends, drinks and, because it’s so sexy, candlelight. In Australia, they’d call it “moreish,” as in, you just want more and more. And while that’s maybe the least sexy word of all time, it’s kind of fitting.
After all, these puppies are super popular on all the hipstery menus around Sydney. I first tried them at Bloodwood, and then again at John and Peter Canteen, another favorite, just around the corner from us. And they could be on every menu forever for all I care. They’re hot and only slightly greasy, crispy on the outside and soft within. There’s just something so perfect about a hot french fry of cornmeal dipped in creamy blue cheese sauce. So sexy. So moreish.
So while I hunker down to write my third essay in as many weeks – with an exam in a few days – at least I’ll be eating my polenta chips with Gorgonzola dipping sauce. I will not allow law school to deprive me of the fundamentals: a good meal, the time to enjoy it, and just a little bit of sexy.
Adapted from Gourmet, may she RIP. This will serve 4 as an appetizer, though no one would be mad if you made some extra…The “chips” are baked under the broiler, but if yours is on the fritz, feel free to bake them in a hot oven. The “sauce” is just gorgonzola heated and mixed with heavy cream. You can substitute any kind of blue cheese, or if you’re not a fan, another full-flavored, creamy cheese (anything from cheddar to fontina).
3 1/4 cups water
1 cup polenta
1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese
1 – 3 tablespoons chopped fresh herbs (such as rosemary, sage, thyme, oregano) (optional)
2 tablespoons butter, chopped
olive oil (for brushing)
Brush an 8-inch square baking dish with oil.
Combine water, polenta, herbs (if using), and 3/4 teaspoon salt in a heavy medium saucepan and bring to a boil over medium heat, whisking. Reduce heat to medium-low and cook, stirring constantly with a wooden spoon, until polenta begins to pull away from side of pan, about 10 minutes. Stir in cheese and butter until incorporated, then transfer polenta to baking dish, spreading evenly with a spatula. Allow to cool. You can make this part up to a day ahead.
Preheat broiler. Line a baking sheet with foil and brush with oil.
Unmold polenta on a cutting board and slice into sticks. (I made about 25 all together.) Brush tops with oil and space evenly on baking sheet. Broil about 4 inches from heat until golden, 15 to 20 minutes. Alternatively, bake in a very hot oven until crispy. Serve immediately with warm sauce (see below).
These measurements are totally made up…just taste as you go.
1 goodly chunk of gorgonzola (or similar)
1/2 cup heavy cream
In a medium pot, heat the cheese over a low flame and add the cream, whisking until everything’s mixed together and smooth. Set aside until ready to serve. Can be served warm or at room temperature, and can be made a day ahead.