Basic Polenta

Bright sunshine-yellow polenta is made from ground maize meal. An instant polenta flour is available, it is not quite as good as the original method, but is not a bad substitute if you are pressed for time.


  • 900 ml/ pt boiling salted water
  • 300 g/10 oz polenta flour
  • olive oil


Add the flour to the boiling water (the water must be boiling because a high temperature is needed to burst the starch grains), letting it drop in like sand sifting through your fingers. As the flour is falling into the water, stir with a wooden spoon. Always stir in one direction, never change direction. Keep stirring for 30–40 minutes. You should end up with quite a thick paste, but not so thick as not to pour onto a tray.

Pour the polenta onto a lightly oiled tin, 2.5 cm/1 in deep. Leave to get cold and cut into diamond or oblong shapes. Either grill on a griddle or shallow fry in olive oil until golden. Serve straight away.