Although I have sampled polenta several times already in my life, I recently began to cook with it and furthermore consume it far more often because of my gluten intolerance. I thought it would be beneficial to create a post regarding what exactly polenta is and how to cook with it in order to encourage you to perhaps experiment with it as well.
Polenta originated in North and central Italy and is composed of cornmeal, a type of flour derived from corn rather than wheat. It typically is sold in tube-like shapes and is available at most grocery retailers for a rather reasonable price.
Polenta can be cooked and served in a variety of ways, some examples being boiled, grilled, baked or fried. It is incredibly simple to make, however one significant drawback of polenta is the time it requires to cook properly. It takes approximately forty-five minutes to prepare polenta when boiling it, therefore it is not exactly something that can be whipped together in a time crunch.
I really enjoy the taste of polenta. It is not overpowering in terms of corn flavour but is rather relatively bland. It can be cooked with numerous ingredients in order to best suit the preference of whoever is cooking it, and because it is so versatile in terms of how it can be prepared, I would argue almost anyone could designate a polenta dish that they personally enjoy.
For me personally, I like slicing polenta into roughly half inch slices and placing them in a pan with a bit of cooking spray (olive oil or butter could be used as well). I allow the polenta to cook on high for about five minutes and then flip them to cook the other side. Once the polenta slices are heated through I roughly chop them into chunks and toss them with some Italian hot peppers we get from a local delicatessen in our area. It tastes fabulous!