The polenta fries I've tried in restaurants are soggy and uninspiring. I thought I'd boost the flavor with fresh rosemary and smoked mozzarella and work on the crisp-factor. The key to crispness is cutting the delicate polenta into 1/2" matchsticks followed by a flour dredge and then always into hot oil (you'll need to reheat the oil between batches). Make sure you have a wide-mouthed pot, thermometer, good tongs, and your paper toweled-lined plate all ready. Frying isn't dangerous business if you have the right tools ready to use. Above I served my fries with warm tomato sauce, but ketchup works well too. These are vegan if you omit the cheese.
Smoky Polenta Fries
Servings: 4 (makes about 50 fries total)
Time: About 30 minutes active; 3 hours total (or chill polenta overnight)
Price: About $7.50 total; $1.90 per serving
Nutrition (per serving):
Saturated fat: 4g
3 cups vegetable stock
1 cup polenta (coarse cornmeal)
1/2 tsp salt
2 oz smoked mozzarella, grated
vegetable or canola oil (I used about 35 oz, but depends on the pot you use, you want 1" of oil, fries soak up about 2 oz oil per batch)
1/2 cup flour
1. In a medium pot heat stock until boiling. Slowly pour polenta in and whisk constantly until incorporated. Turn heat to low and cook 15 minutes, stirring occasionally.
2. Remove polenta from the heat and stir in salt and smoked mozzarella. Spread in a 13" x 9" pan coated with cooking spray. Chill in the fridge at least 2 hours or overnight, uncovered.
3. Heat 1" oil in a large pot until it reaches 375 degrees.
4. Carefully cut the polenta into 4" x 1/2" pieces. Dredge each fry through flour, coating all sides.
5. Carefully drop fries into the hot oil - about 10 per batch. Fry for 2-3 minutes then remove to a paper towel-lined plate. Let cool slightly. Serve warm.