Once again Donna Hay's simple styling and photography got to me. I was flipping through her book Seasons and came across these crunchy little beauties. I was in the midst of planning a big elaborate stay-at-home romantic dinner for two, when Mr B announces that instead he's off to the footy.
'Is that ok?', he asks, obviously expecting me to be upset.
'Yeah, just fine.....', I trail off, thinking of the glorious time alone on the couch I would have with a bowl of these with the aioli and maybe a cheesy romantic comedy.
I added a teensy bit of finely chopped rosemary to the mixture before cooling, as when I tasted the olive and polenta mix hot, I thought it was just a wee bit bland for my taste. I also added a large pinch of sea salt. All in all, they were ok. Just ok. I think they needed some cheese as I still found them a little bland once cooked. They went well with the aioli however! (That said - I haven't met many 'fingers' or 'chips' that don't get on well with aioli!).
Crunchy Olive Polenta Fingers with Aioli
(Adapted from Donna Hay's 'Season' book - p244)
3 cups chicken stock (I used Moredough)
1 cup instant polenta
1/3 cup chopped Kalamata olives
2/3 cup instant polenta, extra for dusting
1/3 cup rosemary leaves
Preheat oven to 200 degrees celsius. Place the stock and butter in a medium saucepan over high heat and bring to the boil.
Reduce the heat to medium and gradually add the polenta. Cook, stirring, for 2 minutes until thickened.
Remove from the heat and stir in the olives.
As you can I added a small amount of finely chopped rosemary. Here is where I would add some cheese next time also!
Spoon the mixture into a well greased 1.5L capacity ceramic dish (28cm x 16cm - or thereabouts), and allow to cool completely.
Turn the polenta out onto a flat surface, lightly dusted with the extra polenta, and cut into pieces.
Place the polenta fingers and rosemary (I forgot the rosemary here!!!) onto a lightly greased baking tray and bake for 25 minutes or until crunchy. I was in a bit of a hurry for some reason and got them out a little bit early. They were crunchy but next time I'd do them for 30 minutes or more I think.
Sprinkle with sea salt and serve with the aioli.
4 egg yolks
1 tbsp white wine vinegar
1 clove garlic crushed
2 tbsp lemon juice
2 cups olive oil
Place the egg yolks, vinegar, garlic and lemon juice in the bowl of a food processor and process until combined.
Gradually pour in the oil in a steady stream (I did mine in batches in this smaller 'whiz' - couldn't be bothered getting my big processor out! Lazy much?) while the motor is running and process until the mayonaise is thick and smooth.