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Sunday, January 30, 2011

A page from Prego's Italian Restaurant - Fried Polenta Cubes

Photo courtesy of Google Images
 Last night Big Guy and I enjoyed a few hours at our local Italian Restaurant, Prego's.  Not just a spaghetti and meatball kind of place at all!  Fabulous wine - we always enjoy the house Montepulciano (red wine).  Beautiful salads, breads, and overall food!   Big Guy enjoyed a delicious Veal Scallopini.  I can confirm it was delicious as I stole a few bites!  I enjoyed a wonderful fish dish with a white wine tomato sauce accented with olives, capers and white asparagus.  I can't recall the name but it was so flavorful and heavenly!
One of the features we look forward to eating when we visit Prego's is their fried polenta cubes.  They are brought out for patrons to enjoy prior to ordering.  So crispy with a taste of creamy polenta inside - it's just yummy goodness!  Big Guy asked last night if I could duplicate it at home.  This recipe is going to be my first attempt.  Let's hope it's as good as Prego's!

Pan Fried Polenta Squared (as featured on Reenie's Recipes)

Recipe Details:
4 cups whole milk
1 tbsp rosemary, finely chopped
1 1/2 tsp fine sea salt
1 1/2 cups polenta
1/3 cup plus about 6-8 tbsp extra-virgin olive oil
1 1/2 cups parmesan, finely grated

Lightly grease a 9"x11" high-rimmed dish with PAM.

In a large saucepan, bring milk, rosemary and salt to a boil over medium-high heat, watching carefully that it doesn't boil over. Add polenta in a slow, steady stream, whisking constantly. Reduce heat to medium-low and cook about 20 minutes, stirring frequently with a wooden spoon. Remove from heat and stir in 1/3 cup olive oil and parmesan. Pour polenta into greased baking dish, cover with plastic wrap and chill in the refrigerator for 1 hour.

In a large sized skillet (preferably non-stick), heat 3-4 tbsp olive oil over high heat, until almost smoking, coating skillet evenly and completely. Make sure the pan is hot enough or the polenta will stick. Remove the polenta from the refrigerator and cut into squares with a sharp knife. Carefully transfer pieces to skillet. Fry the polenta in batches, about 4-6 pieces at a time (do not overcrowd), for 5-6 uninterrupted minutes per side. Drain on paper towels. Cover with foil while frying the remaining pieces. Your first batch may not turn out as nicely as the remaining batches since the oil may not be hot enough etc. Replenish oil after each batch.

Serves 8

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