Smoked Mozzarella Polenta

August 7, 2008 at 5:38 am (B plus (3 stars, like a lot), Grains, My brain, Quick weeknight recipe)

A few years ago we were invited to a friend of a friend’s house for dinner, and one of the side dishes they made left an indelible impression.  It was a simple white bean dish made with smoked gruyere, which both Derek and I really liked.  Smoked gruyere is hard to find, so I tried to replicate it once with smoked gouda, but it was a disaster.  The cheese was all stringy rather than creamy, and the flavor wasn’t right at all.

Last week Derek bought smoked mozzarella at the local cheese shop, and when trying to figure out what to do with it he suggested putting it in polenta.  I only had cornmeal, not coarse polenta, so we improvised this dish, which ended up having many of the same delicious qualities of that original bean dish:  smoky, savory, and very creamy.

  • 1 cup cornmeal
  • 4 cups of water
  • cayenne
  • paprika
  • salt
  • 1/2 ball smoked mozzarella, torn into small pieces
  • olive oil or butter?
  1. Add the cornmeal to a 2 quart pot, and pour in the water (cold).  Mix, then turn on the heat to high and bring to a boil.  When it comes to a boil, reduce the heat to the minimum, and add the spices. Simmer  for about 10 to 15 minutes.  You may need to stir occasionally or put the lid on to avoid splatters.
  2. When the polenta is ready, added the shredded mozzarella and olive oil or butter if you want a richer dish.  Stir to mix.  The cheese should melt completely, and you should be left with a perfectly smooth, uniform porridge.
  3. Serve immediately, and top with garlicky greens or oven-roasted mushrooms or another vegetable of your choice.  A vegetable medley with white beans would also be nice.

Rating: B+

Derek: B

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