Gorgonzola Polenta. Wasn’t he the conductor of a second-rate Italian orchestra in the 1920s? No, wait. That’s not it. It’s a side dish, and not just with Italian food. Polenta is the Italian answer to grits, made in every texture from runny to like a thick, wet cornbread. Although you can find polenta ready made, as well as cornmeal specifically made for polenta, regular yellow cornmeal works just fine.
The first time I encountered this variation on polenta was at the extinct Restaurant Jonathan on Rampart Street, when Chef Tom Cowman was in the kitchen. Incorporating the famous blue cheese into the polenta is a great idea, making the bland polenta suddenly zingy and delicious.
- 3 Tbs. butter
- 1 cup cornmeal
- 3/4 cup crumbled Gorgonzola cheese (about 3 oz. by weight)
1. In a saucepan, bring three cups of water to a boil. Add 1 Tbs. butter, melt, and stir into the water. Lower the heat to medium low.
2. Sprinkle cornmeal in slowly, stirring as you do to prevent lumps from forming. Continue to stir until the polenta thickens, then pulls away from the side of the pan.
3. Stir in the Gorgonzola, until it blends into the polenta. Spoon the polenta into wide soup bowl. Smooth it down with a rubber spatula and allow to cool.
4. Turn the the bowl upside down onto a cutting board. Slice the polenta into six to eight pie-like slices.
5. Heat the remaining 2 Tbs. butter in a skillet over medium-high heat. Lightly brown the polenta slices on each side. Serve as a side dish with almost anything.
Serves six to eight.