I haven’t made these for years but for some reason I remembered them this week and thought I would make them for some lunches. I don’t cook with polenta a lot but it is really easy and I like the firm texture of it for this recipe and bar-marking it on a griddle pan makes the outside lovely and crispy. As an added bonus, if you have any pesto left over from this you can toss it through pasta and eat it in the week and it also freezes fine.
Makes about 24 squares
For the polenta
1 vegetable stock cube
2 litres of boiling water
370g quick cook polenta
4 tbsp Olive Oil
For the pesto
200g soft goat’s cheese/goat’s curd
2 handfuls of chopped flat-leaf parsley
2 handfuls of chopped basil
4 garlic cloves
200g toasted nuts – you can decide here, I used a combination of pine nuts and almonds but walnuts work really well too
6 tbsp Olive Oil
- Put a baking tray (about an average size one, 45 x 30 x 2.5cm) in the freezer to chill. Crumble the stock cube into a large saucepan and pour in the boiling water. Stir to dissolve, then bring it back up to boil on the hob. As the water bubbles, pour in the polenta in a smooth, steady stream and whisk continuously.
- Stir over a medium heat (be careful here as the polenta can boil viciously) until the polenta is thick and creamy and beginning to leave the edge of the pan. Stir in the olive oil and season well. Remove the baking sheet from the freezer and pour the polenta into the baking sheet, spreading it evenly. Leave to cool for 10 minutes. Return to the freezer for 10-15 minutes to completely cool and set firm.
- Meanwhile, mix all the ingredients for the pesto in a food blender.
- Heat a griddle pan and add a little oil. Cut the polenta into squares and chargrill for 2-3 minutes on each side (until they have a bar-marked appearance).
- Serve topped with your pesto.