Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Polenta, gorgonzola and speck bites

Polenta is in my blood. My mother's family hails from the region of Veneto, where polenta is an everyday staple. She was born and raised in Milano, but when she was little she often visited her cousins, aunts and uncles at their farm in the country, where fruit was freshly picked from the trees and an old aunt was roasting chicken on the spit or making polenta. Making real polenta, you see, is no easy task. You have to stir the thing for more than an hour, without interruptions. Imagine that? Stirring a thick, heavy mass for more than one hour with a wooden stick? Neither can I. Nor my mom, for that matter. She always bought instant polenta, which is lovely and takes 5 minutes to cook and virtually no stirring. And of course I've learned from her because if you think that I can stand there and stir a couldron of bubbly yellow stuff for more than an hour, you're sadly mistaken. I might be a witch from time to time, but not that kind of patient witch.

Instant polenta, as I was saying is perfectly ok and most people will not taste the difference. Some will say they do, but they are bluffing. So buy the instant stuff and make polenta as much as you can. Now that is colder out (at least in places that have normal climates, here in Florida I'm still waiting for some kind of relief from the humidity) it's the perfect dish: comforting, filling and, incredibly enough, low in fat. And if you have leftovers you can make this little appetizer bites, which are delicious.

One package of instant polenta
A slab of creamy gorgonzola
A package of speck (smoked prosciutto, available at Costco)

Make polenta according to directions, then pour it into a large pyrex coated with cooking spray and pat it down. Let it cool completly.

Once the polenta is cool, cut it into bite sized squares and place them on a cookie sheet coated with cooking spray. Broil for a minute, so the polenta squares get a little bit of a crust.

Top each square with a little gorgonzola and a piece of speck.


  1. I bet the flavors in this meld perfectly together. Maybe even with a chunk of pear added on top?

  2. Yum! Now that's a great idea. I'll have to try it with pear next time!!

  3. I would love to make this for my family's Christmas Eve meal, which is an all-appetizer meal. This sounds delicious and is really beautiful!

  4. I don't ever cook polenta. Why is this? I don't think my mom ever made it. I bought some once in the tube and it was kind of icky. I want to try the kind you used. This looks like it has such delicious flavor!

  5. The tube polenta is kind of icky. The brand I use is Bellino and it's really easy to make and it tastes great!

  6. I raised my kids ( first two years) with polenta made with milk! It is so creamy and delicious..I must try your recipe.

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