Here is the savory Polenta Fritta con Acciugata. Crispy Polenta with an Anchovy Sauce.
- 5 cups water – or chicken stock
- 1 cup coarse grain polenta
- 1-2 garlic cloves – to taste, minced
- 2 tbs canned tomatoes – chopped
- 1 tb capers – rinsed, finely chopped
- Freshly ground black pepper – to taste
- ⅓ cup extra virgin olive oil
- 4 large sardines – packed in olive oil
- 1 tsp. Italian parsley – finely chopped
- Vegetable oil – for frying
- In a deep saucepan over high heat, bring the water or stock to a boil, adding salt if using water and not if using stock. In a very thin steady stream pour in the polenta constantly stirring as you are pouring. When all the polenta is well combined reduce the heat and stir almost constantly for 35-40 minutes. You will know when the polenta is ready because it will become thick and pull away from the sides of the pan as you stir it. Remove the pan from the heat.
- Oil the bottom and sides of a 9 X 13-inch baking pan. Pour the polenta in an and smooth the surface well with the back of a large wooden spoon. Let the polenta cool a little and then let cool in the refrigerator for a few hours or even overnight.
- Carefully invert the polenta onto a cutting board and cut into small squares or 2 X 1-inch strips.
- In a saucepan over low heat, warm the olive oil and add the garlic and sauté for a few minutes until the garlic is aromatic, about 2 minutes.
- Add the anchovies and with the use of a wooden spoon, break them apart in the pan. Cook stirring occasionally until the sauce thickens, slightly, about 5 or 6 minutes.
- Stir in the tomatoes, capers, and parsley and season all with salt and pepper.
- Raise the heat a little and cook uncovered for 10 minutes. Remove from the heat, cover, and set aside.
- Set a wire rack close to the stove and lay a few sheets of newspaper, or paper towel underneath.
- Using a large deep-frying pan, pour in vegetable oil to a depth of 3 inches and heat the oil to 350º on a deep-frying thermometer.
- Working in batches, fry the polenta, turning each strip once until crisp and golden on both sides.
- Using a slotted utensil, transfer the crispy polenta to the wire rack to drain.
- Keep warm until time to serve.
- Arrange the polenta on a board or serving platter and top each piece with a teaspoon of the sauce and serve immediately.
NOTE: this is a delicious recipe from Mugello the lesser known but historic region in northern Italy. The area is a wide green valley that is crossed in parts by the Sieve River. It is appreciated for its natural landscapes, small towns, villages and Renaissance castles and villas, also, tagliatelle, mushroom pasta, wild boar and Raviggiolo, a soft, cheese.