Oh how I love to snack.
As a result, I am always on the look out for tasty and healthy snacking options for when the munch monster hits.
Polenta chips are the best guilt-free snack especially when baked in the oven instead of deep fried. They are a perfect alternative to potato chips and are wonderfully tasty with a crispy outside and fluffy inside.
A traditional Italian peasant food, Polenta is made from ground cornmeal. It usually takes a long time to cook, requiring constant stirring. However, nowadays you can find instant polenta which takes the cooking time from an hour to 5 minutes.
After cooking, polenta can be eaten straight away the base for a main meal (much like you would mashed potato). However, if you cook polenta then let it set to a dough like texture, you can cut it into various shapes and use it in a multitude of ways.
These polenta chips are definitely a winner and are handy to have on hand to serve to guests who pop around for a drink. They can be prepared in advance and then baked when your guests arrive.
I love serving my polenta chips with a chilli salsa verde. To try and cut down on the olive oil I like to add lemon juice and ricotta to my salsa verde which also results in a creamy texture.
If you haven’t tried your hand at polenta chips yet, I suggest you give them a go. It’s going to be hard to convince people they are actually healthy given how tasty they are!
BAKED POLENTA CHIPS
1 cup vegetable stock
3 cups water
1 1/3 cup instant polenta
1/2 cup grated parmesan
Zest of 1/2 lemon
Handful continental parsley, finely chopped
Salt and pepper, to taste
Olive oil spray
Measure out all ingredients before starting as once the polenta is cooking it all needs to happen quickly.
In a large saucepan heat vegetable stock and until just boiling. Whisk in the polenta adding it in one long stream and whisking constantly.
Keep whisking until the polenta pulls away from the side of the saucepan. Remove from the heat and stir in the parmesan, lemon zest and continental parsley.
Place the polenta mixture into a greased square baking dish and press down firmly ensuring the the polenta mixture is packed together and smoothed over the top. Pop in the fridge for an hour or two until the polenta is set.
Remove from the fridge and cut away the curved outer edges. Slice into long chips (cut them thickly as you want the chips to be crispy outside and fluffy inside). Lay chips on baking trays lined with paper (being sure not to overlap the chips) and spray with olive oil.
Preheat oven to 200 degrees Celsius. Place polenta chips in oven and bake until golden and crispy (about 25 minutes) turning them over halfway through baking and spraying again with olive oil. Remove from the oven, sprinkle with sea salt and serve with chilli salsa verde.
CHILLI SALSA VERDE
1/2 long red chilli
3 tbsp ricotta
large handful basil leaves
large handful continental parsley
small handful mint leaves
Juice of 1/2 lemon
1/3 cup olive oil
Salt and pepper, to taste
Place all ingredients in a blender and blitz for about 3-5 minutes until the chilli and herbs have been incorporated completely and you are left with a creamy green dip. If the Salsa Verde tastes a little grassy, add more basil leaves to offset the mint.