So excited over this one.
It’s the coziest of the coziest and I think I could eat it daily. I know that my mom could, and I think that on this one, I am right there with her. It may be simple, but I am not sure there is much that can beat fried polenta. Oops, I mean cheesy fried polenta.
Some may not call this dinner, but I totally did.
Some might say that a square of fried polenta and some brussels sprouts is not balanced, and to that I say – you are crazy! There is a little green, a little whole grain, and a little protein from all that cheese. Totally and completely balanced.
Over the summer my mom sent me a pic of this dish she order from an eclectic restaurant, deep in the woods and slightly down the mountain in Mt. Hood, OR. It’s totally her kind of thing and I knew the second I saw the pic that it was probably her most favorite meal she’d had in weeks.
She sent me this pic of fried polenta. At first I had no idea what is was and I replied back “while that looks boring”. So then she explained and I did a total 360 and said that looks delicious (because how could fried polenta not be?). But you guys, it literally was just a plate with a square of fried polenta and some saffron oil drizzled over top. At least I ‘m providing you with a little green (come on, you gotta admit this is better).
Everyone except my dad (who loves brussels sprouts) would not eat the brussels sprouts and only ate the polenta, such wimps! They are missing out – these are some of the most delicious brussels sprouts. I pan roasted them and added a balsamic-pomegranate glaze that makes them almost addicting, like you just want one after another. Or at least I did.
I had said that I was going to wait a while to make some fried polenta because it seemed so un-summer like. So I did, and here we are today. It’s very cold, snowy (no joke) and the perfect time to make fried polenta.
Gotta love autumn. It bring so much goodness.
Here is the deal though, this is simple, but you have to be a little patient since the polenta has to firm up in the fridge for at least an hour. Don’t worry though, this gives you time to make the bestest roasted garlic olive oil (with sage and crushed red pepper too!). You can also make the balsamic pomegranate glaze for the brussels sprouts. The hour goes fast and then you are ready to fry.
I added brie and blue cheese to my polenta, which I think was a pretty amazing combo, but any melty cheese will work fine. I gotta say though, brie is kind of amazing in this. It’s just so creamy and perfect. The blue cheese adds that nice sharp bite. So good guys.
The cheesy part is kind of important, BUT if you happen to be vegan, you can still make this. Obviously, we loved the additions of butter and cheese over here, but for you vegan peeps, try swapping in vegan cheese, butter and or coconut oil. Or you can even leave the cheese out all together. Surprisingly, it is still pretty awesome.
Also, may I highly recommend adding a fried egg? It kicks this dish up to a whole new level, and if you are wondering, I totally added one or two when I heated this back up for dinner. I always say, when in need of a finishing touch, add an egg. It never fails. Never.
Cheesy Fried Polenta w/Pan Roasted Balsamic Brussels Sprouts + Roasted Garlic Sage Oil.
Servings: 6 Servings
Calories Per Serving: 786 kcal
Nutritional information is only an estimate. The accuracy of the nutritional information for any recipe on this site is not guaranteed.
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Pan Roasted Brussels Sprouts
Roasted Garlic Sage Oil
- 4 cups olive oil
- 4 heads garlic
- 1 large bunch fresh sage
- 2 sprigs fresh thyme
- 1 teaspoon crushed red peper flakes
- To make the polenta. Pour the water into a medium size saucepan and bring to a boil. Lower the heat to medium and slowly whisk in the polenta. Cook, stirring frequently, until the polenta is soft and thick, about 15 to 20 minutes. Stir in the brie, blue cheese or parmesan cheese, and butter, season with salt and pepper. Stir until the cheese is melted and the polenta is creamy and smooth.
- Grease an 8 or 9 inch square baking dish. Pour the hot polenta into the prepared pan and smooth the top with a rubber spatula. Let cool slightly, then cover and refrigerate until cold and set, at least 1 hour or up to 3 days.
- Meanwhile preheat the oven to 325 degrees F. To make the oil, slice the tops off the garlic and place the garlic cut side down in a 9x13 inch or slightly smaller baking dish. Pour the olive oil over the garlic. Add the sage, thyme and crushed red pepper. Cover the dish tightly with foil and bake for 45 minutes or until the garlic is caramelized and flavorful. Pour the oil through a fine mesh strainer. Store in a glass jar or glass container for up to 1 month. Save the roasted garlic for another cooking use (or uses!) and the sage for topping this dish.
- To make the brussels sprouts, heat a large skillet over medium heat, add the oil. Once hot add the brussels sprouts and cook, stirring occasionally, until sprouts are golden brown, 8 to 10 minutes. Add the pine nuts and cook 1 minute more. Season with salt and pepper, to taste. Reduce the heat and slowly pour in the balsamic vinegar, pomegranate juice and honey. Cook 2-3 minutes or until the balsamic glazes the brussels sprouts. Add the pomegranate arils and cook another minute. Remove from the heat, but keep warm.
- To fry the polenta, use a sharp knife and cut the polenta into 9 squares. Toss them gently with the flour, making sure all sides are coated in flour.
- Add the oil to a large pot and heat to 375 degree F. Add the polenta two at a time and fry, turning occasionally with a slotted spoon or tongs, until golden brown, 4 to 6 minutes. Transfer to paper towels to drain.
- To serve, divide the brussels sprouts among plates. Add a square of fried polenta. Top with sage, drizzle with roasted garlic oil. Eat immediately!
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*For a vegan friendly version, you can leave the cheese out completely or use your favorite vegan melting cheese. **To make this more of a balanced meal, I like to add a fried egg.
Crispy on the outside. Creamy deliciousness on the inside. Just OMG.