When I was in culinary school, one of my favorite lessons was the day we made about 100 different types of polenta. One variation was a creamy polenta, laid out onto a sheet pan to cool, cut into various shapes with cookie cutters (cute animal shapes included), and then baked, broiled and sautéed. The broiled version was a class favorite. It was the first time I played around with making polenta in any way other than as a creamy side dish or as the base for tomato sauce/poached eggs/sautéed mushrooms/etc… That day was the inspiration for these fries. Fun, healthy, creative and delicious – Audrey is a huge fan and I guess that shouldn’t be a surprise. I mean, have you ever met a 2 year old that didn’t love a “fry” or for that matter, something they could dip into ketchup?
- 4 cups water
- ¾ teaspoon salt
- 1 cup quick cooking polenta (I use this)
- 1 cup packed baby spinach leaves, chopped
- ¼ cup grated parmesan cheese, plus more for sprinkling
- Freshly ground black pepper, optional
- Olive oil or cooking spray
- Lightly coat a baking sheet with oil (or cooking spray).
- In a medium saucepan, bring water and salt to a gentle simmer over medium heat. Very slowly whisk in polenta until fully incorporated. Lower heat and continue to whisk until smooth, about 5 minutes. Stir in spinach, parmesan cheese and a pinch of pepper, if using.
- Pour mixture onto prepared baking sheet and spread with an oiled rubber spatula until even and smooth. You want it about ¼" - ½" thick. Allow to cool for 20-30 minutes. (This can be made in advance and stored in the fridge for up to 2 days)
- Preheat broiler.
- Very carefully invert sheet of cooled polenta onto a clean cutting board. Cut polenta into fry-shaped sticks, about ½" x 3".
- Line same baking sheet with foil and brush with oil (or cooking spray). Space fries evenly on baking sheet and lightly brush with oil or cooking spray. Sprinkle with additional parmesan cheese.
- Broil about 4 inches from heat until golden and crisp, 10 minutes per side.
- Alternatively, you can bake these at 450 for 30 minutes - flipping once.
*Once broiled, these taste best the day of.