Wednesday, February 3, 2010

Polenta cakes with ratouille

We thawed out some ratatouille the other day (see my recipe from Sept. 22, 2009) and had it served over instant polenta. Then last night I cut the leftover polenta into cakes to serve with the last of the ratatouille.

I know using instant polenta may seem like a bit of a copout, but I was a little short of time. Actually it's very, very good and having it set up while you are stirring it for only 1 minute is a gift.

When I make polenta from scratch I tend to make it fairly loose. That makes it less workable for frying cakes of it.

As you can see in the photo, we served dinner with a tossed salad with a homemade vinaigrette (and a liberal pour of vodka on the rocks).

Polenta cakes
1 cup bread crumbs
1 cup parmesan cheese, grated finely
leftover polenta, cut into cakes
2 egg whites, beaten until a bit frothy
salt and pepper to taste
1 tbsp olive oil
1 tbsp butter
chopped parsely, to garnish

Mix the bread crumbs with 1/2 of the parmesan (a little more or less, your choice) in a wide bowl. Dip two sides (opposite each other) of the cakes in the egg whites and let excess drain off. Press the cakes into the bread crumb/parmesan mixture.

Heat the olive oil and butter in a non-stick saute pan. When the butter has melted and the foam subsided, fry the cakes for 4 minutes per side. I put a piece of foil over them and weighted them with a small cutting board to increase contact with the pan.

Take the pan off the heat, leave the foil on, and let the cakes sit for 2 minutes. This is to allow the heat to distribute throughout them.

Serve them as is or with some leftover sauce of somekind (just in case you don't happen to have ratatouille on hand. To save time you certainly could use a jar of your favorite tomato or marinara sauce. Top with the remaining parmesan cheese and some parsley.

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