just me

Polenta Panini

In Breads / Grains, Sandwiches, Snacks, Uncategorized on May 5, 2010 at 7:03 pm
polenta panini

It's like a sandwich, but with polenta for bread!

So, are you tired of eating sandwiches? I was, but Mr. Gorilla LOVES them. I’m a fan, but have you ever noticed how time-consuming and expensive it can be to make a couple of really good sandwiches? Try this: go to the store and just buy the stuff you need to make sandwiches, and I don’t mean cheese sandwiches, either. Get a loaf of bread, a block of cheese, some kind of meat, a head of lettuce, a tomato, some mayo or mustard or some other topping, maybe some onion or olives, or whatever else you think you’d like. Before you know it, you’ve spend $40 on sandwiches! For $40, you could have had swordfish. Or lobster. I mean, come on.

So when I came across this recipe for Polenta Panini, I immediately got excited because a) I already had cornmeal to make the polenta with, and b) I already had cheese. The only thing I needed to buy was prosciutto – seven dollars. Done. And boy, were these great. Not exactly low-fat, mind you, but really good, especially with roasted asparagus and a nice salad. Perfect for spring. Hop to it.

Polenta Panini

(adapted from Panini, by Viana La Place)

1 cup coarse cornmeal

1/2 cup fine cornmeal

6 cups water

8 ounces mozzarella cheese

4 ounces prosciutto

2 eggs, beaten

1/2 cup flour

3 slices toast

oil for frying

Directions:

Bring the water to a boil in a large pot, and add the cornmeal in a slow, steady stream, stirring constantly. Reduce heat to medium-low, and stir until polenta pulls away from the side of the pan. This is supposed to take 30 minutes, but it only took about 15 minutes for me, because I have super powers.

Immediately pour the polenta into an oiled cookie sheet and let cool.

Meanwhile, cut the mozzarella into thin slices about 1 inch square, and cut the prosciutto slices into strips about 1 inch wide. These are gonna be so cute!

When the polenta is cool – and I mean COMPLETELY COOL – use a glass to cut it into as many rounds as you can get out of it. I got 12, I think. Remove the rounds from the pan and place them on a cutting board, and save those polenta scraps! They come in handy for stuff.

Put prosciutto and cheese on top of half the rounds, dividing everything evenly. Top with the remaining rounds.

Pour the flour onto a plate, and run the toast through a food processor to make breadcrumbs. See how I tricked you into that? Trust e – once you start using fresh breadcrumbs, you’ll never buy them in the store again. So, make you breadcrumbs and pour them in a dish.

Your beaten eggs should already be in a bowl. You’re not standing there with a pocket full of egg, are you?

Pour the oil (your choice) into a large pan until it’s about 1/4 inch deep, and heat on medium-high until it’s all shimmery and sputters when you drop a piece of polenta in. See? Those leftovers are already coming in handy!

Gently (GENTLY!) roll the edges of each sandwich in the flour, then the egg, then the breadcrumbs. It must be in that order. It won’t work, I’m telling you. Now is not the time for creativity.

Immediately after rolling, place the sandwiched in the pan and fry until golden on all sides. You may need to use tongs to get the sides, but I didn’t. Fresh breadcrumbs seem to cook better.

Only do a few sandwiches at a time – if you crowd the pan, they’ll take longer to cook and absorb more oil. Drain them on many, many layers of paper towels.

That’s it! I served mine with pretty tomato slices on top, but you don’t have to. These make a great snack, appetizer, or even dinner. Hey – they got the Mr. Gorilla stamp of approval!

polenta panini

Smile! There's cheese!

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