Monday, September 19, 2011

Toasted Cheesey Polenta Slices - and other Polenta Log Tales

About a year ago my youngest daughter went on an elimination diet that lasted several months. One month was no gluten. Another month was no sugar. Another month was no dairy.

She kicked off the process with the gluten-free month. Wow, it was a tough month. Gluten is in everything. I immediately started stocking up on gluten-free breads (both fresh and frozen), gluten-free treats, gluten-free pastas, gluten-free cereals, and so on. She pretty much hated all of it. With a passion. As part of this effort, I stocked up on polenta logs from Trader Joes.

I first tried a lasanga recipe that I found on allrecipes that used slices of polenta instead of noodles. She said she liked it, and she ate it all up, but she wasn't eager for me to make it again.

I then tried slicing the polenta into round discs and pan-frying it, with dollops of pasta sauce, and cheese on top. Again, she ate it eagerly, but didn't seem too excited for me to make it more than a couple of times.

My creativity ended about there. I could not figure out a good way to prepare the polenta logs. I think I had another 6 logs and they sat and sat.

Long after she was done with the gluten-free experiment, I decided I wanted to use up the polenta. I wasn't crazy about these logs, and I was home alone, so I had to find some form of preparation that pleased my tastebuds.

I could not find a healthy way to prepare the polenta. In this case, healthy (to me) means no cheese, but polenta is yummiest with cheese. I finally discovered my favorite way to prepare it - by this time I had only one or two loaves left. I finished it off, and I can tell you, I will not be buying polenta logs any time soon.

So, here it is.

Simple - yes. Delicious - yes. Healthy - no.

Toasted Polenta Slices

  • Remove the plastic from the polenta log.
  • Slice the polenta the long way, making the slices as thin as feasible. A scant 1/4" is good.
  • Sprinkle the slices with grated cheese of your choice. (I tried also using various types of red sauce but, in the end, I preferred it sans sauce.)
  • Place the slices directly on the wire rack in the toaster oven. Set to 450° F and bake for 20 minutes. The time will vary slightly depending on the thickness of the slices, but 20 minutes is about right.

You end up with slices of yummitude. The long time in the oven (I also tried shorter times, but it wasn't as good) dries them out and makes them firm and crunchy. These are excellent with a bowl of hearty soup.

If you have healthier, but still yummy, ways to prepare these logs, let me know in the comments. I am glad I finished them up and freed up some pantry space. :)

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