Polenta Croutons
Yield: 4 servings
Ingredients
  • 16 ounces precooked polenta*
  • 1 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt and a few turns of the pepper mill
  • 1/4 teaspoon garlic powder (not garlic salt)
  • 2 tablespoons grated Parmesan cheese
Instructions
  1. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F, and line a large baking sheet with parchment paper. Slice the polenta log into 3/4- to 1-inch cubes. (To avoid wasting any of the polenta, I don’t square off the sides and ends to make perfect cubes. Instead, I cut into 3/4- to 1-inch thick round slices and then chop those into mostly uniform pieces. Some will inevitably be more triangular, and some will be squarer. That’s ok—just aim for mostly even thickness.)
  2. Place the cubes in a large bowl, and gently toss with the olive oil, salt, pepper, and garlic powder.   Sprinkle with the Parmesan, and toss again to evenly coat. Arrange the cubes on the prepared baking sheet so that they’re not touching, then bake for 25-30 minutes, turning once after about 15 minutes, or until lightly golden and crisp on the outside. (The croutons should still be tender on the inside as opposed to being crunchy throughout. This bit of chewiness is what makes them extra satisfying.)
Notes
  • * Look for a plastic-wrapped tube or log (much like a fatter version of prepared cookie dough) in the refrigerated section of the grocery store. Some stores have prepared polenta in the organic refrigerated section. Recently I did see it stored at room temperature, too. I have purchased 16-ounce packages and 24-ounce packages. If you find the larger size, you can prepare 1-1/2 times the recipe (for example, 1-1/2 tablespoon olive oil, 3 tablespoons Parmesan, etc.) for a total of 6 servings instead of 4.
  • If you have leftovers, cool and store in an airtight container. The crisp exterior of these croutons will fade. To “refresh” them, place the croutons in a 325 degree F oven for about 10 minutes. They’ll taste as good as new.
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