Truffle Risotto, Green Papaya Salad with Crispy Onion and Roasted Peanuts, Hot Apple and Almond Crusted Pie with Vanilla Cream. These are just some of the answers I have given in reply to that infamous question, “What is your favourite food?” all foodies get asked. These rich and interesting dishes with complex, layered flavours offer no less than what would be expected to satisfy a foodies taste buds. But in all honesty, if I had to eat Green Papaya salad with Crispy Onion and Roasted Peanuts as my final supper then, well, I really wouldn't die entirely satisfied.
If I were to tell the truth, my ultimate favourite food of all time is the very unrefined, unsophisticated British chip. Actually chip doesn't cut it, because let’s face it no one on this earth can ever stop at one. A grand plate of salted chips would do me just fine; accompanied by an equally grand dollop of ketchup.
Favourite foods are so much more than just taste qua taste. Favourite foods are about the memories those tastes evoke. Every time I eat chips I am taken right back to my entire childhood - mainly because I spent most of my childhood scoffing my face with chips. And those were happy, happy days.
I remember being in Canada, on a kids adventure with my brother and two cousins. We were on our way to a theme park all squashed together in the back of a car with a Canadian relative. Well prepared, he had packed some snacks in his backpack to keep us going for the journey. He asked “Does anyone want any chips? I have some in my bag.” My face lit up. I couldn't believe it. How had he managed to pack fresh, hot chips into his backpack? I was a little dubious. But then I thought ‘Canada is an entirely different country, miles away from England; maybe they have innovative solutions for packing hot foods into backpacks. What else could have meant by chips in his backpack?’ Alas, you can imagine my disappointment when he brought out a bag of crisps. Of course what I was dreaming of were what the Canadians call fresh, hot fries - I was completely lost in translation!
So, with a nod to my ultimate favourite food this week I have decided to share my recipe for Polenta Chips – a slightly more refined, sophisticated Italian cousin of the great British chip. These chips are packed full of flavour. The polenta gives the chips a soft interior and crisp exterior once they are fried. And rather than ketchup, I paired my Polenta Chips with Italian tomato sauce – the kind you would make with pasta. Semplice e delizioso!
Polenta Chips (serves 4)
100g cheddar cheese, grated
2 small chillies, finely chopped
2 cloves garlic, finely chopped or grated
A large handful of parsley, finely chopped
2 tbsp olive oil
//Click here to PRINT RECIPE //
//Click here to PRINT RECIPE //
|Chopped chilli, garlic, parsley|
Finely chop the chillies, garlic and parsley. Fry for 3 minutes until the parsley shrinks and darkens in colour.
|Pouring in Polenta in a stream|
Boil the water. Once it is bubbling pour in the polenta in a stream stirring constantly. Do not add all the polenta in one clump as it will be difficult to un-clump it once it hits the water. Keep stirring until the polenta is cooked through. This will take about 5 minutes.
Add in the cheese and mix in the cooked parsley, chillies and garlic. Season with a pinch of salt and stir all the ingredients together. At this point the polenta can be eaten just as it is, serve in the same way you would mashed potato.
But to make the chips, you have to let it cool completely. To do this, pout it out onto a chopping board, or wide plate or tray. Leave until completely cooled. This will take at least 30 minutes.
|Shallow frying Polenta Chips|
Once cooled, cut into chips. (I absentmindedly cut mine into oblongs instead of chips – but they tasted great all the same!) Shallow fry in a little oil, turning so that each side hits the pan and it is crispy on all sides. Serve with tomato sauce, or just as they are.
Until next time...