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Left over polenta

I made polenta last night for the first time, and had a lot of leftovers. I immediately smooshed it into a cake pan, it had hardened a bit already so it is not perfectly even but it is about 2cms thick.

I know I can cut it up and fry it. What else can I do with it? What do I serve it with? can I freeze it?

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  1. Polenta fries with garlic aioli. Use it like pasta. Casserole. Yum

    1. Saute some mushrooms, put some good cheese on top and bake.

      Pour a nice pasta sauce on top and bake.

      Make sides of it with melted butter on top.

      3 Replies
      1. re: LulusMom

        it's brilliant with mushrooms and gorgonzola.

        yes, you can freeze it.

        1. re: hotoynoodle

          When I've frozen it, it's been very crumbly when thawed. Does it need a bit of recooking to be made into a cake again? On the other hand, maybe I didn't compress it enough before freezing.

        2. re: LulusMom

          This is what I am doing for dinner tonight. I mix fresh portabellos with a reconstitued dried mix of mushrooms, sauteed with some rosemary, and with some soft the goat cheese that gets all melty and mixes with the mushroom "gravy"....yum

        3. I like it with melted cheese topped with a really spicy salsa.

          Makes a nice base for underneath short ribs/meatloaf/pot roast and sauce or gravy.

          It freezes really well (think tamales).

          1. Make a polenta lasagne! Cut the polenta in rectangles, and layer/sauce/bake as you would a lasagne with pasta. Just spread polenta with ricotta/egg/herb mixture, then layer in some tasty veggies (roasted eggplant and mushroom would be great for fall!), layer with cheese and sauce, and bake untill cheese is bubbly!

            1. so one thing I am realizing then is that I can cut, fry and serve with anything saucy or cheesy? Any sort of stew as well.

              1 Reply
              1. One caution - while it is firm when cold, it will soften when reheated. That means polenta that is stiff when first made holds its shape best when fried. Creamier polenta will return to creamy when fried, and thus fall apart. It might be better to reheat creamy polenta in a baking dish, so it does not have to be turned or handled.

                What you do with fried polenta depends, in part, on how it is seasoned. If plain, it could be eaten breakfast style, with syrup and bacon. But if already flavored with cheese, then more cheese and tomato sauce is appropriate. Basically fried/rewarmed polenta can be served with the same things that freshly made polenta can.

                2 Replies
                1. re: paulj

                  I just discovered this while reheating the left over stew for lunch. I cut and fried the polenta. It did just fall apart. Is there a way I can change this happening? Or am I now left with only creamy polenta when reheated?

                  The polenta is seasoned mildly with creme fraiche and parm and made with whole milk. It is very rich!!

                  1. re: cleopatra999

                    Pretty much. I have never gotten the creamy stuff to fry. But you can add some milk and an egg and make corn pancakes! Sometimes, I add a bit of flour as well, and of course, some chives. Delicious with anything that has been braised, or a fresh vegetable ragu.

                2. They make great croutons for salads and soups if you cut them into small cubes and fry.

                  1. Cut into 1 in. cubes , egg dip and bread crumbs, deep fry and serve with warm marinara.

                    1. I was born and raised in Northern Italy, and we are normally called "Polentoni" (not always meaning it as a compliment ;-) ) because we eat a lot of polenta! :-) You have had a lot of great suggestions already, but one that I see is missing is "grilled"! When we do our grilling days we always throw some slices of polenta on the grill to accompany any meat or fish that is going to be the entrée that day. Just quickly brush the slices with oil and leave them on the grill long enough for the polenta to heat through and to make those beautiful grill mark on the outside! Ahhhh...nostalgia.... :)

                      1. My grandmother made "fried mush" which was basically frying up polenta squares and treating it like french toast...cover with butter and syrup for brunch!

                        1 Reply
                        1. re: jboeke

                          I was born in Williamsport, Pa. Sun. breakfasts were usually fried corn meal mush with butter and maple syrup and sausages!! I love making it for my kids now! I wasn't sure anyone still make it or even called it that anymore! :)

                        2. Agree with damo267-

                          Grilled is very good, and thin sliced grilled can make a good vegetable lasagna.

                          My wife and I came out of the Opera in Milano one late, freezing evening and found vendors selling hot, fried Polenta and hot fried breaded Risotto Milanese, which were excellent.

                          When your nose is cold and you want to find a fireplace somewhere, this is the next best alternative.

                          I asked a chef we know in Cadenabbia, near Lago di Como, and he confirmed that the tradition started using leftovers.