Grilled Italian Style Polenta
Grilling With Fire!
This easy to follow smokey good "BBQ Grilled Italian Style Polenta Recipe" is going to stun your family and friends! The grilling tips make the process simple, while delivering outstanding grilled polenta. You will begin by mixing up a simple thick and creamy polenta delicacy (Italian ground cornmeal). While the polenta chills out in the refrigerator, you will gather-up a few scallions (sweet lovely green onions) and toss them on the grill. Once you have the polenta cut in those beautiful triangle shapes (you'll find a really easy to follow pictorial for this) they get to hop onto the grill to take their turn. To wrap this easy recipe up, the smokey sweet and tangy "Grilled Italian Style Polenta" get lined up on an irresistible serving platter for your family and friends to fight over! Time to get started making the best grilled polenta dish you will ever create!
Polenta and You
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Make Coarse Cornmeal into Smooth Polenta
If you only have the kind of cornmeal for making cornbread or Mexican style masa, don't panic. Take this course cornmeal and grind it down to a smooth consistency in a coffee grinder or spice grinder and use as you would fine cornmeal. (Use a coffee grinder that's dedicated to spice grinding only; never use one that has ground coffee beans before.)
Gathering Ingredience for 16 Easy Pieces of Grilled Polenta
Makes 16 Beautiful Triangular "Griiled Italian Style Polenta" Pieces
- 2 TBL spoons of honey (local if you can find it)
- 2 tsp chopped fresh thyme
- 1 TBL kosher salt
- 1 cup instant polenta -or- fine cornmeal
- 16 scallions, trimmed
- 5 TBL extra-virgin olive oil
- Grated zest and juice of 1 fresh lemon
- Kosher salt and fresh ground black pepper
- 8 ounces of robiola, at room temp
- 1 tsp sweet pimentón (Spanish smoked paprika)
Grilled Italian Polenta "bonus Tips!"
TIP 1). I often take about 1" of the green tips off of the scallions and finely dice them. I then add these tiny flavor-packed snippets into the polenta as it cooks. It adds another layer of flavor throughout the finished BBQ grilled polenta dish.
TIP 2). Try adding a squeeze of lemon to the olive oil before you brush it on the surface of the polenta triangles for grilling. It adds some "zingy" acid flavor to the sweetness of the polenta. With the creamy cheese and grilled scallions, a little extra lemon flavor helps the finish on the pallet! Be sure too mix the oil and lemon juice together thoroughly!
Polenta Recipe Tips
Preparing the Polenta Before Grilling
Bring 3 cups of water (you can substitute chicken stock or broth for the water, this adds another layer of rich flavor to the dish) to a boil in a large pan. Stir in the honey, thyme, and measured salt. While whisking constantly, slowly pour in the polenta in a thin steady stream, then cook, whisking, until the polenta thickens enough so you can see the bottom of the pan as you whisk—about 3 to 5 minutes for instant polenta, a little bit longer for the cornmeal.
Immediately pour the cooked polenta into an ungreased 9"X13" baking pan. Spread the polenta evenly with an off-set spatula or with the back of a wooden spoon. I usually place a sheet of parchment paper on top of the warm polenta then press on the paper with the bottom of a second pan to get the surface smooth. (You have to work quickly at this, once the polenta gets too cool, you won't be able to get a smooth surface anymore.)
Let it cool, then place the cooked polenta in the refrigerator for 40 minutes, or until set. (You can make the polenta ahead by several days before grilling it, as long as you keep it safely covered and refrigerated.)
How to Cut Triangle Shaped Polenta
Time to Get BBQ Grilling Italian Style Polenta!
Preheat your Gas Grill or Light Your Charcoal Grill
- Place the scallions over the hottest spot on the grill, cooking them until they wilt and get a little charred on the first side—4 to 6 minutes. Flip the scallions over and grill the second side until it too has a mild char—3 to 5 minutes. Remove to a platter and set aside for later use.
- Flip out the chilled polenta onto a clean cutting board. (If you used cornmeal you will more than likely have to run a blunt knife along the sides of the pan to release the polenta.) Cut the slab into 8 equal rectangles, then cut each rectangle into 2 triangles. (See diagram)
- Brush the triangles of polenta on both sides with 3 tablespoons of the extra-virgin olive oil and place each piece on the hottest part of the grill. Cook until grill marks form on the first side—3 to 4 minutes, allow the polenta triangle to cook until dark char marks become visible. Repeat on the other side, then remove the smokey good polenta pieces to a large platter.
- In a small bowl, mix together the grilled scallions, remaining 2 tablespoons of olive oil, then add the lemon zest and juice. Season with salt and pepper to taste.
Toppings for "BBQ Grilled Italian Style Polenta" With Class
Spread 1Robiola on each Italian Grilled polenta triangle, one tablespoon should do the job. Mound it up slightly so you can decoratively coil a grilled scallion on top of each triangle. Sprinkle the smokey Pimentón over the top of each piece of grilled polenta. If you have a little bit of the lemon marinade left over from the scallions, you may want to drizzle a drop or two over the robiola topped Polenta triangles; serve warm or at room temperature.
1Robiola: Considered Northern Italy's best cheese, robiola is a soft, creamy cheese that tastes of shaded deep green and lush herb-filled hillsides. It has a perfume that, generally, only true cheese aficionados may appreciate; something similar in aroma to strong musky humid-mildew, and sweet jasmine. Try shopping for robiola (without the rind) at cheese shops, Italian markets, or on the international (Italian) food/cheese isle at the local grocery store or high-end market. You can even find robiola online; I have placed an easy to shop for link at right for your convenience.
If you are unable to find robiola, feel free to substitute another creamy cheese—or even Boursin® (a high-quality cream cheese-like and flavored cheese).
Wrapping up "Recipe Tips for BBQ Grilled Italian Style Polenta"
This delightfully Italian grilled polenta recipe can accompany a myriad of main dishes. Fish, veal, lamb, pork, and even grilled vegetables, each playing very well with the easy and charming grilled Italian style polenta flavors. Try this recipe as a starter or as a side. Your family and friends will cheer on your brilliant BBQ Grill Master greatness. Just don't forget to tuck in your Grill Master cape before sparking-up the BBQ fire!
Finished Grilled Polenta with Scallions
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