Broccoli adds a subtle hint of flavor, but these baked polenta sticks are a great appetizer with or with out the broccoli.
- 1 pound broccoli florets
- 2 cup milk
- 2 cup water
- 1½ cup white or yellow corn meal, or coarse grain polenta
- ½ cup pecorino romano, grated
- 2 tablespoon olive oil, plus more as needed
- kosher salt as needed
- marinara sauce for dipping
Bring the milk and water to a boil in a large pot, stir in 2 teaspoons salt. Add the broccoli florets and cook until tender, about 4 minutes. With a mesh strainer remove the florets (it is okay if small pieces remain behind). Let them cool slightly then roughly chop them.
Return the milk and water mixture to a low boil and slowly stream in the polenta while stirring constantly. Once incorporated turn down the heat to achieve a very low bubble. Continue stirring until the polenta thickens up, this can take a few minutes or much longer depending on your polenta. Stir in the broccoli florets. Cook stirring often while also scraping the bottom and sides of the pot. Continue cooking and stirring and scraping until the broccoli breaks down and nearly into the polenta. You may need a bit more water to keep the consistency thick, but fluid. Stir in the cheese and olive oil. Season with additional salt if necessary.
Remove from heat and spread out ½-inch thick onto an oiled or silpat linedbaking sheet using an off-set spatula. Chill in the refrigerator for at least an hour, or overnight. Cut into wide-cut “fry” shapes, about 5″ to 6″ long and ½″ square. Rub each stick with a bit of olive oil and sprinkle with some salt.
Bake in a 450 degree oven, middle rack, for 20 minutes or until golden and crispy. Flip the fries once after ten minutes.
Serve with a marinara sauce for dipping.