In praise of polenta

I’ve always been a fan of polenta but don’t make it very often. This week I make a fabulous dinner with polenta, roasted vegetables and steak – yum, yum, yum. This is good old style polenta which you cook for 20 minutes or so stirring regularly. I make it for lunch without the steak and my Italian friend praises it highly and say it’s like something his mother makes.

Stephanie Alexander’s cookbook is proving to be a godsend. In it, there’s a recipe for a polenta pan bread which I’m making ALL the time. It’s very simple and a very tolerant recipe which allows for things like vegetables to be roasted before the batter is poured in and still tastes great. The best thing of all? It’s very light and fluffy, not stodgy like a lot of GF recipes seem to be.

As far as I can tell, there are a couple of easily available types of polenta. One is the very fine cornmeal, and then there is a more coarsely ground type. My mother in law tells me that there is also a type with larger grains which requires a lot more cooking. I’ve found different types works with different recipes., so in the recipes section I’ve included what types of cornmeal to use with which recipes.

I’m thankful once again that I cook a lot so I have a good handle on ingredients. But I’m still surprised by the occasional item. Burger Wisconsin does a gluten free bun which is great, but apparently their mayonnaise and their relish is NOT gluten free! I can understand the flour as a thickener in the relish, but in mayo? Honestly? The mayo I’ve made uses eggs and oil, salt and pepper, sometimes vinegar but NEVER flour! I’ve also tried Burger Fuel GF burgers and they are OK. The filling is nice and tasty, but the buns are a bit heavy.

Of special mention on the takeaways front are Burger Wisconsin, Burger Fuel and Hell Pizza which all offer gluten free options for an additional charge. Wendy’s should also be mentioned as they offer lots of gluten free offerings on their normal menu, and a shout out to the Constellation Drive Wendy’s drive through who read me out the ingredients list for their thick shakes. And of course Indian takeaways. Most of their thickening is done with cream or ground nuts rather than flour – huzzah! And poppadums are often OK too, as they’re made with lentil or urad flour which happens to be gluten free! Thanks to the gluten free grocer for this piece of information!

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One thought on “In praise of polenta

  1. The mayo might have either mustard or malt vinegar. Either of these will make it non gluten free. Mustard seeds are gluten free but some ready prepared mustards have vinegar. Sad isn’t it.

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