We really like polenta in our house.
Yes, we do.
No, it’s not paleo, it’s not grain-free, and no one can really digest corn.
But it tastes good, you know?
Almost nutty, almost sweet, almost creamy, and almost crunchy.
It’s almost like corn – in the form of polenta, at least – is magical.
If it’s not magical, it’s magnificent.
We also really like cheese at home – and we eat a lot of it.
And, finally, the other thing you may be interested and intrigued to know is that not everything is entirely homemade in our house. Yes, for the most part it is – and it’s always REAL.
But, there are times when you simply cannot replicate the divine seasoning combination of King Sooper’s Italian sausage, the mishmash of flavor in Mrs. Dash, or, in this case, the sublime spicery of Emeril’s Chicken Rub.
There is a time and a place ~ and at this time and this place…
Spicy Maize Mounds and Curly Cheddar Crisps
1 cup polenta, or coarse grain cornmeal
1 1/3 cup filtered water
2 Tbs. butter
2 tsp. + Emeril’s Chicken Rub
4 oz. shredded cheddar cheese
2 medium tomatoes, chopped
1/4 cup fresh cilantro, chopped
sea salt and pepper + drizzle of extra virgin olive oil
Combine the polenta, water, and butter in a saucepan over medium to low heat. Bring to a simmer and stir constantly. Once the butter has melted and the polenta is turning to thick mush, stir in the seasoning. Remove from heat and immediately pour into a ceramic or glass bread loaf pan. Chill for 4-6 hours.
Meanwhile, preheat the oven to 325 degrees.
Line a baking sheet with parchment paper and spread the cheese either into small, 2″ wide rounds or long 2″ wide ribbons.
Bake for about 5 minutes, until the cheese is melted.
Remove from oven and allow to cool for just a few minutes, until the cheese is an appropriate temperature to handle.
Twist the ribbons and rounds around a chopstick or the handle of a wooden spoon and allow to cool suspended over the two sides of a bowl.
Once the polenta has set, cut into squares or rounds (using a cookie or biscuit cutter). Break the Curly Cheddar Crisps into bite-sized pieces and toss both the polenta maize mounds and cheddar with the tomatoes and cilantro. Season with salt and pepper and drizzle with olive oil.