There are two fried pleasures I have: halloumi and polenta. Fried polenta is a treat in my book but something that’s easily made (even from leftovers). I’ll make extra polenta just so I can fry the leftovers the next day and smother it with vegetables. This version is an easy summer side and best of all, you can grill the polenta for a meal that requires zero oven time. If I’m not working with leftovers, I like to make the polenta up the night before so that it’s ready to go when I need it the next day.Print
A beautiful summer side or main dish that is best with leftover polenta.
- ½ cup dry polenta
- 2 cups water
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 2 cups wedged tomato slices (roughly 2 large tomatoes- see note)
- 1 small shallot (thinly sliced)
- 2 tablespoons shredded basil
- 1 ounce crumbled feta
- 2 teaspoons olive oil
- 2 teaspoons lemon juice
- Salt (to taste)
- Pepper (to taste)
- An hour before or up to the night before making the salad, combine polenta, water, and salt in a pot. Bring to a boil, reduce to a simmer, cover, and let cook for 20 minutes.(this is my favorite method for cooking polenta). Line an 8×8 pan with parchment paper and pour the prepared polenta into the pan. Spread evenly and place in the refrigerator until cool and set.
- While waiting for the polenta to cool, combine the tomatoes with the shallots, basil, feta,olive oil, and lemon juice in a bowl. Toss until well combined, taste, and add salt/pepper as desired. Set aside.
- After polenta is cool, cut into 3 columns and cut each column in half. Cut each half into two triangles and repeat with remaining polenta.
- Heat a skillet over medium heat. Add 1 tablespoon olive oil and place polenta in the skillet, not crowding the polenta and working in two to three batches if needed, adding more oil as needed. Cook for roughly 4 to 5 minutes until the polenta has crisped and is turning golden. Flip, repeat on the other side, and transfer to a plate.
- Arrange polenta on a platter, top with tomato salad, and sprinkle with extra basil. Serve immediately so that the polenta stays crisp.
Tips & Tricks: In the photo is two regular tomatoes which I took out some of the juice before making the salad. Other options would include using cherry or grape tomatoes, roma, or really any tomato that you want to try.
Nutrition: see the information.
- Calories: 390
- Sugar: 7.8
- Sodium: 445
- Fat: 22.1
- Carbohydrates: 42.8
- Fiber: 4.5
- Protein: 7
- Cholesterol: 12.6
Polenta Flavors: I intentionally left the fried polenta a bit on the boring side in the recipe above because there’s quite a few routes you could go to spice it up. Use a heavy hand of freshly cracked black pepper to create a black pepper polenta. Add a your favorite herbs to the polenta before cooling or add the cheese to the polenta (another favorite of mine).
Cheese: I like to use goat cheese or even fresh mozzarella (very much inline with the tomato/basil combination).
Grilled: You can easily ditch the frying process of fire up the grill. Brush the polenta with olive oil (and brush the grates, I have lucky not skimping the oil) and fry until crisp on each side.
Polenta is one of the items that is always in my pantry. It makes for a perfect vegetable base, can be used in different leftover ways, and is light on effort to prepare. As mentioned in the recipe, I prefer this method for cooking polenta and my current favorite polenta is this brand.