Poulenta - Ionian Polenta
Poulenta - yes, it sounds like the Italian polenta because it’s pretty much the same thing -- is a traditional Greek recipe of the Ionian islands, where the Venetians ruled for 400 years and left their mark on the local cuisine. Extra virgin Greek olive oil goes into this yummie Greek comfort food, which can be served on its own or as an accompaniment to almost any type of stew or braised dish. I like to serve it with Eggplant skordostoumbi. You can add some Greek feta to this dish, too, and if you do, look for the real thing, with the PDO (protected designation of origin) stamp on the package!
- 4 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil divided
- 1 tablespoon butter
- 4 to 6 garlic cloves to taste, very finely chopped
- 2 quarts water
- 1 tablespoon salt
- 2 cups coarse stone-ground yellow cornmeal preferably organic
- 2 tablespoons unsalted butter melted
- ½ - 1 cup crumbled Greek feta optional
Heat 2 tablespoons of the olive oil in a small skillet over medium heat and cook the garlic until
soft but not browned, about 3 minutes. Remove from the heat and set aside.
Bring the water and salt to a boil in a large saucepan. Add the cornmeal slowly, in a very thin
stream, keeping the heat high enough so that the water continues to boil. Stir the cornmeal with a large, long whisk or wooden spoon the entire time you are pouring it in. Once it has been incorporated, pour in cup of the olive oil and add the cooked garlic. Reduce the heat to low and keep stirring the mixture until it is thick and creamy, 20 to 30 minutes. When the mixture begins to pull away from the pot, it is ready. Serve immediately, drizzled with the remaining 2 tablespoons olive oil and the butter, and topped with crumbled feta, if desired. You can also whisk some feta into the polenta to make it extra creamy.