Marcia Kiesel says the secret to this recipe is stirring the cornmeal vigorously and often while cooking it on the stove and then refrigerating it overnight, until firm; this helps prevent the polenta from sticking to the pan when you fry it.
Delicious, Quick Side Dishes
7 cups water
1 cup fine stone-ground yellow cornmeal
1 cup coarse stone-ground yellow cornmeal
1 cup fresh corn kernels (from 2 ears of corn)
6 tablespoons (3 ounces) unsalted butter
1 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese (3 ounces)
Freshly ground pepper
4 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
How to Make It
Lightly oil a 9-by-5-inch glass loaf pan. In a large saucepan, bring the water to a boil. Add a large pinch of salt, then slowly add the fine and coarse cornmeal by handfuls, whisking constantly. Cook the polenta over low heat, whisking vigorously and often, until thickened and no longer gritty, about 45 minutes.
Meanwhile, in a small saucepan of boiling salted water, cook the corn until tender, about 3 minutes. Drain.
Stir the corn into the polenta, followed by 2 tablespoons of the butter and all of the Parmesan. Season with salt and pepper. Scrape the polenta into the prepared loaf pan and smooth the surface. Cover with plastic wrap and let cool to room temperature, then refrigerate overnight.
Cut the polenta into 8 thick slices. In each of 2 large, nonstick skillets, melt 2 tablespoons of the remaining butter in 2 tablespoons of the olive oil. Add 4 polenta slices to each skillet and cook over moderate heat until browned on the bottom, about 5 minutes. Using a spatula, scrape the slices from the bottom of the skillets and flip them. Cook until browned on the second side, about 5 minutes longer. Serve the fried polenta at once.
The polenta can be refrigerated in the loaf pan for up to 2 days. The slices can be fried earlier in the day and reheated in a 375° oven for 10 minutes.