Old school, but delicious. Polenta cakes have been around for ages and there is a reason for that. They are simple, inexpensive and very satisfying. The possibilities are endless with how you can flavour them and they compliment many dishes.
Line a casserole dish with plastic wrap and set aside.
2. Preheat a large heavy bottom pot on medium-low heat. Add the butter, onion and garlic and sauté until nicely browned, stirring occasionally.
Once brown, add the milk and water and turn the heat up to bring to a boil. Keep a close eye on the pot as milk loves to boil over and make a huge mess.
Just as the milk reaches a boil, reduce heat to medium-low again and using a whisk, slowly stir in the corn meal. Make sure the corn meal is evenly distributed and there is no clumping.
Season with salt, cumin and paprika and then cook for about 15 minutes. Make sure to give a good stir with a wooden spoon every 5 minutes or so and check that its not burning on the bottom.
Once the polenta is soft and cooked, its time to stir in the parmesan cheese. Go with fresh grated Parmesano Reggiano if you can.
Now pour the warm polenta into the plastic lined casserole dish and spread out and compact in an even layer with a wet spatula (so it does not stick) and place in the fridge to cool.
After 2 hours or so, you can remove the polenta from the dish by lifting the plastic wrap. Place on a cutting board and cut into desired shape. Square, rectangle, circle with a cookie cutter, half moon etc.
Fry cakes until warm and browned with a little butter in a preheated fry pan on medium heat. Serve as an appy or as part of dinner.
2 hours 20 mins
These freeze quite well, so you can make a big batch and freeze any left overs.
Change up the cheese for a totally different cake. Try gorgonzola or brie for instance and see the difference.