Soft polenta loses its creamy, pourable consistency with chilling. But Italians transforms those firm leftovers by cutting the polenta into squares and frying until crisp outside and tender inside. If you plan to serve soft polenta one night and fried polenta in the next few days, scale up the recipe for soft polenta so you have enough for both occasions: Increase the cornmeal to 2½ cups, the water to 13¾ cups and the salt to 5 teaspoons.
While the polenta cooks, grease an 8-inch square baking dish with 1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil. When the soft polenta has finished cooking, ladle 4 cups into the prepared baking dish and smooth it to an even layer. Cool to room temperature, cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate until firm, or up to two days. Fried polenta is a great accompaniment to stews, or it can topped with cheese or sauce and served as an appetizer or light main course. It often is eaten as a starter topped with chunks of Gorgonzola cheese and a drizzle of honey.
-inch square firm, chilled soft polenta (see note in Soft Polenta)
cup all-purpose flour
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