As promised, here is my companion recipe for Grilled Polenta that I recently served with my Grilled Shrimp with Sundried Tomato Gremolata.
Grilling polenta is a great way to liven it up a bit. It creates a crispy exterior to the polenta, similar to the texture you get from frying it, but without (most of) the extra oil! Topped with some grated parmesan and a sprinkle of herbs and you’ve got a great little side dish or appetizer!
Grilling polenta can be a little daunting, because of it’s delicate texture, but there are some trick you can use to guarantee great grilled polenta each time!
Tips and Tricks
- Use well-set polenta. Room temperature or cold is fine. If you’re having trouble getting your polenta to set at room temperature, popping it into the fridge for a bit should do the trick.
- Oil your polenta. I brushed a little olive oil on one side of the polenta before placing them on the grill, and oiled the opposite side while they were cooking.
- Use a preheated grill to prevent sticking! This is the same as searing meats and seafoods as well. If you start with a cold grill it will not end well. Trust me.
- Use hot enough heat, but not too hot. For mine, I found 450-500 degrees was just about perfect. You do want to watch carefully to make sure the grill isn’t firing too hot or you will end up with blackened polenta which is obviously not the goal.
- Be patient. Do not be tempted to force your polenta to flip just because you “think” it’s probably ready. Gently test the edges and only flip when the polenta easily lifts off the grill grates.
Grilled polenta is great on its own topped with a little cheese and herbs, but you can also serve it cut into strips with some marinara or homemade ranch (please, whatever you do, if you’ve gone to the trouble of making polenta, do not serve it with bottled ranch!! blegh). It also works great as a naturally gluten free side.
Check these recipes out for some inspiration:
- Grilled Shrimp with Sundried Tomato Gremolata
- Herb Crusted Lamb Chops
- Roasted Chicken
- Herb Dijon Crusted Salmon
The next time you’re firing up the grill, I hope you give this one a go!
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- 2 cups yellow cornmeal (regular, not stone ground)
- 4 cups water
- 2 1/2 cups half and half or milk
- 1 1/2 tsp kosher salt
- 3/4 cup parmesan cheese divided
- 1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil for brushing
- 2 tbsp basil minced, or other fresh herbs of your choice
- Line a quarter sheet pan or 9×13 pan with parchment. Grease parchment thoroughly.
- In a medium saucepan, whisk together cornmeal, water, half and half (or milk), and salt. Turn heat to medium.
- Whisk constantly until mixture begins to simmer. Turn heat to low. Stir intermittently until mixture thickens significantly and begins to hold a bit of shape/ pulls away from the edges of the pan. This takes about 15-20 minutes.
- Stir in 1/2 cup cheese.
- Pour polenta out into prepared pan. Spread to distribute evenly. Let rest on a wire rack until cooled and set. (At least 20 minutes)
- When polenta is cooled, cut into squares.
- Preheat gas grill to 450-500 degrees Fahrenheit. Or preheat cast iron grill pan to high heat.
- Brush one side of the polenta squares with olive oil. Arrange squares on grill, placing on a diagonal to create off-set grill marks. Press polenta into the grill with a spatula, using light pressure. Brush remaining side of polenta with additional olive oil.
- Cover (gas grill only, unncessary if using grill pan) and grill for about 5 minutes, or until polenta easily lifts from grill grates with a spatula. Flip and grill for about another 5 minutes.
- Arrange on platter and sprinkle with remaining cheese, and minced herbs.