Millas (pronounced millase) is a revelation for polenta-lovers – light and delicate, pale in colour and, when fried, crisp on the outside and succulent within. Throughout south-western France, from the early seventeenth century, this maize porridge was eaten at least three times a week by most families and was described as ‘the national dish of the Midi’. In the Pyrenees and around Castres it was le mets favori – the favourite dish. It goes under many names: called polenta by immigrant Italians, it was known as millas in the Tarn, escautun, meture or cruchade in the Landes. In the Béarn it was broye, and in the Gers it was armotos. Like cabbages and beans it is no longer a staple, perhaps it is too much associated with hard times. Whatever the reason, it is not often eaten today, but is still sold at country fairs, and definitely deserves a comeback. This recipe serves 6 people.