The Simple Things

Rosemary & parmesan polenta chips


Rosemary leaf itself is sometimes considered a little too bold to be actually eaten, and so it is often cooked alongside roasting meats or vegetables, to release its oils, rather than chopped into dishes. I have gradually acquired a taste for full rosemary immersion, strongly herby and more than a little resinous, and this is one of the dishes I would recommend if you want to try it for yourself.

Serves 4 For the parmesan chips:

Extra virgin olive oil 350ml water 300ml full fat milk 125g instant polenta 2 tbsp finely chopped rosemary 50g parmesan cheese, finely grated

For the bacon and greens:

8 rashers of smoked streaky bacon 300g spring greens, chopped 12 spears asparagus, trimmed 100g peas (frozen is fine) 100g steamed and double podded broad beans

Oil a baking tray with extra virgin olive oil. To make the polenta, first pour the water and milk into a saucepan and heat it to boiling. Pour the polenta into the boiling liquid in a steady stream, stirring all the time. Keep on stirring on a low heat for a few minutes, while it thickens up, then remove it from the heat and add the rosemary, parmesan and salt and pepper to taste. Stir it in well and then spread the polenta out onto the baking tray and leave for 10 mins or so to cool a little.

The polenta will now have a thick, sliceable consistenc­y: cut it up into batons, then place them onto a piece of silver foil on the grill pan, drizzle with olive oil, and grill each side until they are brown and crispy.

Meanwhile, cut each bacon rasher into four and fry until crisp. Add the spring greens and asparagus spears, toss in the bacon fat, then cover the pan and cook for 5 mins. Add the peas and broad beans, toss them all together, and cover and cook for a further 5 mins. Taste and season, then serve hot with the polenta chips. Rosemary brings a fresh, floral note to the salty, crispy polenta chips

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