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Parmesan Polenta Fries

Parmesan Polenta Fries

Crispy on the outside, fluffy and tender on the inside, these polenta fries can be enjoyed in so many ways. Serve them for dipping into soup or a steaming bowl of mussels, or with poached eggs or warm beans. By cutting the polenta into smaller squares before baking, you can quickly transform the fries into croutons and scatter them onto a big salad. You get the picture--these tasty guys are versatile and damned good. Tip: I use instant polenta in this recipe to keep the prep easier, but if you've got time on your hands, feel free to use slow-cooking polenta.
Servings 6 to 8 servings


  • Sea salt
  • 1 cup instant polenta
  • 3 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 1 cup grated Parmesan
  • Plenty of freshly ground black pepper


  1. Bring 31/2 cups water, with a generous pinch of sea salt, to a boil in a large heavy-bottom saucepan. Once you have a rolling boil, slowly pour the polenta into the water while whisking continuously. Turn the heat down to medium-high and continue whisking for 2 to 3 minutes, until the polenta has thickened and is cooked through. Stir in the butter and 3/4 cup of the Parmesan. Season with ample freshly ground black pepper and plenty of sea salt to taste.
  2. Transfer the warm polenta to an 11" x 7" baking dish. Using the back of a wooden spoon or spatula, smooth the polenta into an even layer. Let the polenta cool and firm up in your fridge for at least 45 minutes.
  3. Preheat the oven to 450°F. Line one or two baking sheets with parchment paper.
  4. Cut the polenta into 2 1/2" x 1/2" (finger-size) strips. (If you want to make croutons, cut the strips into smaller squares.) Place the polenta strips/cubes onto the baking sheet(s). Don't overcrowd the strips--they need some room to brown on the sides. Slide the baking sheet(s) into the oven. After 10 minutes, flip the fries, sprinkle on the remaining 1/4 cup Parmesan, return to the oven, and bake for 10 minutes. Serve hot.
  5. If you have any leftover fries, toast them up in the oven the next day for breakfast.