Nigel Slater’s deep-fried polenta with a melting cheesy sauce

Nigel Slater week: A dish of polenta, thyme and taleggio from the food writer's Greenfeast: Autumn, Winter. Crunchy carbs. Melting cheese

Nigel Slater’s polenta thyme taleggio. Photograph: Jonathan Lovekin

Nigel Slater’s polenta thyme taleggio. Photograph: Jonathan Lovekin

 

POLENTA, THYME, TALEGGIO

Crunchy carbs. Melting taleggio.

Enough for 3-4
coarse polenta (bramata) 125g
thyme leaves 1 teaspoon
oil, for deep frying
creme fraiche 4 tablespoons
taleggio 150g

Bring 750ml of water to the boil in a heavy-based, deep-sided pot and salt generously. Add the polenta in a continuous stream, then lower the heat and stir regularly for thirty minutes until you have a thick porridge. Stir in the thyme. Scoop the polenta into a loaf tin, approximately 20x12cm, lined with cling film, smooth the surface and wrap the film over the top. Leave for an hour or so to cool.

Unwrap the polenta and turn out on to a chopping board or plate. Break into about twenty-four pieces, each one about 30-35g in weight. The rougher the break the more interesting the texture will be when they are fried.

Heat the oil to 180°C in a deep pan. Lower the pieces of polenta into the hot oil, one or two at a time, taking care not to overcrowd the pan. Let the polenta cook for five or six minutes, turning from time to time, then removing with a draining spoon as soon as they are crisp and golden. Place on kitchen paper.

Warm the creme fraiche in a heatproof bowl over a pan of simmering water. Add the cheese (cut into small pieces) and let it melt. Stir gently.

Serve the crisp pieces of polenta with the taleggio cream.

A crisp salad on the side. Curls of frisee crisped in iced water; white chicory and watercress would be my preference.

From Greenfeast: Autumn, Winter, by Nigel Slater, published by 4th Estate Books. Photographs: Jonathan Lovekin

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