How To Make Jenga Polenta Sticks
These polenta sticks are a fun and crispy twist to the Italian cornmeal dish. They’re fried to golden slabs, then served with lemon yogurt or tomato sauce.
Grease a baking sheet with nonstick spray.
In a large glass bowl, whisk together the polenta and water. Microwave on high power for 20 minutes, whisking halfway. The polenta should be thick and creamy. If not, microwave for another 2 to 3 minutes, stirring every 30 seconds.
Add the butter, Parmesan, salt, and pepper and whisk until well combined.
Transfer the polenta to the prepared baking sheet and spread it in an even layer. Wrap in plastic wrap and let set in the refrigerator for at least 2 hours or up to 3 days.
Lemon Herb Yogurt Sauce:
In a medium bowl, whisk together the yogurt, dill, salt, garlic powder, Zesty seasoning, and lemon juice.
Cover and chill in the refrigerator for at least 30 minutes before serving.
Spicy Tomato Sauce:
In a medium saucepan over medium-high heat, heat the olive oil until shimmering. Add the onion and salt.
Reduce the heat to medium-low and cook the onions for about 10 minutes, stirring occasionally until fragrant.
Increase the heat to medium-high and add the red wine vinegar, oregano, garlic powder, basil, and red pepper flakes and stir to coat.
Add the crushed tomatoes and simmer for about 10 minutes, stirring occasionally to allow the flavors to meld.
Remove the pot from the heat and add the lemon juice and another generous pinch of salt and stir to combine. Cover to keep the sauce warm or let cool to room temperature.
Once set, carefully invert the polenta onto a cutting board. Cut off ¼ inch from each side, creating sharp edges.
Cut crosswise into 5 pieces each measuring 3 inches wide, then cut each piece lengthwise into 1-inch (2 ½ cm) strips. Makes 55 pieces total.
Heat the vegetable oil in a large, wide pot over medium-high heat until it reaches 375 degrees F. Line a baking sheet with paper towels.
Working in batches to avoid crowding the pan, fry the polenta sticks for 2 to 4 minutes, until golden brown and crispy.
Remove from the oil and transfer to the prepared baking sheet to drain and cool for at least 5 minutes.
To serve, form a tower by arranging 3 polenta sticks horizontally, then stacking 3 perpendicular sticks on top.
Repeat with the remaining sticks. Serve with the yogurt and tomato sauces alongside.
- Calories: 201.17kcal
- Fat: 18.82g
- Saturated Fat: 2.08g
- Trans Fat: 0.15g
- Monounsaturated Fat: 12.75g
- Polyunsaturated Fat: 3.14g
- Carbohydrates: 6.83g
- Fiber: 0.43g
- Sugar: 0.62g
- Protein: 1.76g
- Cholesterol: 4.08mg
- Sodium: 181.41mg
- Calcium: 42.09mg
- Potassium: 38.07mg
- Iron: 0.21mg
- Vitamin A: 13.52µg
- Vitamin C: 0.69mg
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