Most recipes for polenta instruct to bring salted water to a boil—
Some cooks prefer to simmer the polenta in a double boiler to prevent scorching, but I do not think it is necessary. Another method, which requires virtually no stirring, calls for whisking together the cornmeal, water, salt, and butter, pouring it into a well-buttered deep baking dish or saucepan, and then baking it in a
Cooked polenta can be kept soft and flowing in a saucepan or in the top of a double boiler by adding small amounts of hot water at regular intervals. It will take as much water as you add and keep on drinking. When you are ready to serve, you can fold in a creamy, good-melting cheese, such as mascarpone, Gorgonzola, robiola, or Fontina. You can also add chopped herbs like chives or sage, or fold in chopped cooked vegetables such as spinach or broccoli or mashed butternut squash. If you do not want it soft, pour it onto a wet or oiled rimmed baking sheet and refrigerate until set. You can then cut it into strips or squares, and bake, fry, or grill the pieces.
© 2004 Joyce Goldstein. All rights reserved.