Rosemary Polenta Bites with Truffle Mayo
Cook time: 35 minsPrep time: 15 minsServes: 4
Good Food, Good Company is our series of easy, delicious recipes from some of our favourite cooks. Food to cook, eat and share in good company. Nicola Moores, Garden-to-Table cook and manager of the beautiful Te Arai Lodge shares her recipe for Rosemary Polenta Bites with Truffle Mayo.
"I first discovered polenta living in northern Italy and came to love it first and foremost for its versatility. It also happens to be extremely affordable, satiating, and quick and easy to make.
To create a flavoursome base, it’s important to cook the polenta in a well-seasoned homemade stock or reconstituted vegetable broth. It also helps to add a good knob of butter and a handful of parmesan at the end. I’ve gone and added even more flavour by tossing the polenta bites in rosemary and garlic before baking in the oven at a high temperature which is a healthier alternative to frying and still produces a similar deliciously crispy exterior and soft pillowy interior.
- Extra virgin olive oil (for greasing)
- 4 C water
- 4 tsp vegetable broth powder
- 1 C fine polenta
- 1 tsp flaky sea salt
- 1/2 tsp freshly cracked black pepper
- 75g butter, cubed (optional)
- 75 g parmesan, finely grated (optional)
- 2 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil
- Flaky sea salt
- Freshly cracked black pepper
- 2 Tbsp fine polenta
- 4 spring rosemary, stems removed & roughly chopped
- 4 cloves garlic, peeled & crushed (optional)
To prepare the polenta, start by greasing a 30 x 20 x 3cm baking tray with olive oil and set aside.
Put the water in a large saucepan, add the broth powder and whisk to combine. Bring the water to the boil, pour in the polenta and whisk vigorously for 5 minutes or until thick, smooth and creamy. Remove from the heat and whisk through the seasoning followed by the butter and parmesan if using.
Pour the polenta into the baking tray and spread out with a spatula, smoothing off the top. Set aside to cool in the fridge for at least a couple of hours, preferably overnight, until completely firm and solidified.
To prepare the polenta bites, preheat the oven to 220°C fan bake mode.
Turn the polenta out onto a cutting board and either tear into bite-sized pieces or cut into 3 x 3 x 3cm cubes. Gently spread the bites out in one single layer on a large baking tray or on two smaller ones. It’s important to not overcrowd the tray/s so that the polenta bites have enough room to crispen up.
Drizzle with the oil, season to taste with salt and pepper, sprinkle over the polenta and rosemary and gently shake the tray so that the bites are well covered.
Bake in the oven for 30-35 minutes or until golden and crispy, remembering to give the tray a good shake to turn the polenta bites halfway through the cooking time. Once they start to crispen up you won’t have to be as gentle as they’ll be easier to turn.
If using the garlic, scatter over the polenta bites in the last 5 minutes of the cooking time. Enjoy right away whilst still warm dunked into copious amounts of the truffle mayo.
NB: For a dairy-free vegan alternative, simply omit the butter and parmesan.
NB: The polenta can be prepared well in advance and kept on the tray in the fridge for up to a few days before cutting into bite-sized pieces and baking.