Wednesday, 6 February 2013

Fried Halloumi Cheese on Polenta Cakes with Tomato Sauce

I've been obsessing about polenta cakes since I discovered that I love the polenta "fries" at a local restaurant. Seven dollars seems a lot to pay for some cornmeal and (tasty, tasty) grease though. I don't think mine are quite as good (the lack of a deep-fryer shows) but they aren't half bad, and they certainly aren't half price either (they are much less, in case you couldn't tell). Use the money saved to top them with fried halloumi cheese and tomato sauce, and then they are a complete meal, at least with the addition of something green on the plate. They also make an excellent little appetizer for a more formal dinner. 

4 to 12 servings
40 minutes prep time - plus at least 1 hour cooling time

Fried Halloumi Cheese on Polenta Cakes with Tomato Sauce

Cook the Polenta:
1 1/4 cups coarse cornmeal (polenta)
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon rubbed oregano
2 1/2 cups water
about 1 tablespoon mild vegetable oil

Put the cornmeal, salt, oregano, and water into a pot and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat to a simmer, and cook until very thick, stirring constantly; this will take about 5 minutes.

Remove the pot from the heat and let the polenta cool enough to handle, while you use the vegetable oil to grease 12 muffin cups. Divide the polenta evenly between the muffin cups, and use the back of a wet spoon to press it  down and create a smooth top to each polenta cake. I find I have to dip my spoon in water for every second cake. Let these cool and set completely; at least one hour, but up to overnight. They should fall right out of the muffin cups when wanted, or at least be easily removed with a dull knife or shallow spoon.

Assemble the Final Dish:
2 cups tomato sauce
1/4 cup mild vegetable oil (about)

250 grams (1/2 pound) halloumi cheese

Heat the tomato sauce to a simmer, and keep it warm on the back of the stove until you are ready for it.  Slice the halloumi cheese into 12 even slices.

You will need two large skillets. Use a little oil to just brush one; put the remainder of the oil in the second pan, which should then have the surface well covered in a layer of oil. Heat only the oilier of the pans to start with, over medium-high heat (pancake or egg cooking temperature). When it is hot enough to make them sizzle, gently place all the polenta cakes in the pan, at least as many as will fit and allow you to manouvre them. You may need to fry them in 2 batches, keeping the finished ones warm in a 200°F oven until they are all done.

Cook the polenta cakes until a light golden brown on each side; about 15 to 20 minutes cooking time in total. When they are half done, heat the other pan to about the same temperature, and cook the slices of halloumi on each side until a nice dark golden brown on each side.

When everything is ready, remove the polenta cakes to the plates that people will be eating from (as opposed to a serving plate for people to help themselves, as they would lose a lot of the sauce that way.) Drizzle sauce over the cakes, and top each one with a slice of the hot browned halloumi. Drizzle a little more tomato sauce over the top, and serve at once.

Last year at this time I made Curried Shepherd's Pie with Sweet Potato Topping.

1 comment:

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