Okay, confession time: I’m not a huge fan of polenta. (Braces herself.) Wait, let me backpedal a bit. I’m not a huge fan of polenta (or grits, for that matter) in their traditional, creamy glory. But polenta in fried form? Come to mama.
What I appreciate most about polenta prepared this way is the crispy shell it takes on, creating a nice, solid contrast against the still-gooey interior. Polenta fries, polenta squares, polenta oblongs—hot and salted up, I’ll take ’em all.
YouTube star Gaz Oakley’s herb and lemon polenta “chips” (or ”fries” as we say here stateside) go one—actually, two!—better in his new book, Vegan 100: Over 100 Incredible Recipes from Avant-Garde Vegan. Not only is his version baked, this recipe uses instant polenta from the start, drastically reducing the time spent babysitting a finicky, bubbling pot.
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The polenta gets an added burst of flavor from floral herbes de Provence and fresh lemon zest before being sent away to chill in the fridge for a couple of hours. After they’ve firmed up, they get cut into chubby chunks and baked off until they reach a peak golden hue.
Be sure to give them a generous salting and a good squeeze of lemon juice while they’re still hot. You can serve them up with your favorite burger but—as with traditional fries—these will play well with any number of mains (or even alone!).