We love polenta: the traditional Italian cornmeal boiled into porridge (or "mush" as we called it when I was a kid). As a side dish, this stuff can't be beat. Its rich, creamy flavor alone or with tomato sauce is a great accent to any meal. For Superman Cooks, I wanted to up the ante. When I first thought of this recipe, I ran it by Jackie and she gave me this adorable smile which I knew meant "what is he thinking?". This begged for further clarification. I described a polenta cake with creamy cheese, a hint of heat from the pepper and a cool citrus glaze. Her eyes lit up and she said "hmm, that just might work".
Well it worked. These Jalapeño Polenta Cakes turned out even better than I imagined. The subtle heat of the pepper really comes through in texture of the polenta cake, and the cool citrus glaze adds just the right amount of sweet. It goes well with a pulled pork, barbecued ribs, or grilled steak.Can you tell we are already thinking about grilling season? The citrus glaze from this recipe can also be used as a delicious dipping sauce for chicken tenders or pretzels. The possibilities are endless. Enjoy!
A traditional polenta cake with an unexpected heat of pepper and cool citrus glaze
- 4 cups water
- 1 cup corn meal (any kind works, medium or fine grind)
- 1 tsp salt
- 1 cup shredded cheese
- ¼ cup diced fresh jalapeños
- 2 tsp corn starch
- 1 orange (large)
- 1 tbsp sugar
- Bring water to a boil and add salt
- Stir in cornmeal. Reduce heat to low and cook for 30-45 minutes, stirring every 5 minutes.
- As you cook this it will thicken. If it gets too thick to stir, add ¼ cup of water at a time.
- After 30 minutes, take a teaspoon of mixture and allow to cool for 5 minutes and taste. It should have a smooth finish and not feel gritty. If it is gritty, allow to cook a little longer and repeat tasting until a smooth texture is left.
- Stir in cheese and diced jalapeños.
- Spray a 9x9 cake pan with cooking oil or butter
- Transfer corn meal to pan and spread out until even.
- Allow to cool for 30 minutes or up to 3 days in refrigerator.
- While cooling, prepare glaze:
- Zest all the skin of one orange and set aside
- Juice the orange and add water to form one cup of juice and place in medium sauce pan.
- Over medium heat, stir in the sugar and cook for 2 minutes
- In a small bowl, combine the corn starch with a tbsp of water and mix until dissolved
- Add this to the juice mixture and cook over medium heat until thickened.
- Remove from heat, add orange zest, and stir.
- When polenta has cooled, slice into 2x2 inch pieces and place in sauté pan sprayed with cooking spray and cook over medium heat for 2 minutes on each side.
- Place on serving plate and drizzle orange mixture over top.
- Serve and enjoy