Jenga Polenta Sticks
How could you not play with your food with this fun recipe? These polenta sticks come together and fry quickly and easily, then stack them up, and pair it with any of your favorite dipping sauces for some tasty good fun!
for 55 polenta sticks
- nonstick cooking spray, for greasing
- 2 ½ cups polenta (400 g)
- 9 cups water (2 L)
- 3 tablespoons unsalted butter
- 1 cup shredded parmesan cheese (110 g)
- 2 teaspoons kosher salt
- 1 teaspoon pepper
- 4 cups vegetable oil (960 mL)
Lemon Herb Yogurt Sauce
- 1 cup plain full-fat yogurt (245 g)
- ½ tablespoon fresh dill, choppped
- 1 teaspoon kosher salt
- 1 teaspoon garlic powder
- 1 ½ teaspoons McCormick® Zesty seasoning
- 1 tablespoon lemon juice
Spicy Tomato Sauce
- 1 teaspoon olive oil
- ½ cup red onion (75 g), diced
- 1 teaspoon kosher salt, plus more to taste
- 1 tablespoon red wine vinegar
- 1 teaspoon dried oregano
- 1 teaspoon garlic powder
- ½ teaspoon dried basil
- ¼ teaspoon red pepper flakes
- 1 cup crushed tomatoes (200 g), canned
- 1 teaspoon lemon juice
- Calories 170
- Fat 17g
- Carbs 2g
- Fiber 3g
- Sugar 0g
- Protein 1g
Estimated values based on one serving size.
- Make the polenta: 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 2–3 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 in an even layer. Wrap in plastic wrap and let set in the refrigerator for at least 2 hours, or up to 3 days.
- Make the 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.
- Make the 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 (6 mm) from each side, creating sharp edges. Cut crosswise into 5 pieces each measuring 3 inches (7 cm) wide, then cut each piece lengthwise into 1-inch (2 ½ cm) strips. You should have 55 pieces total.
- Heat the vegetable oil a large, wide pot over medium-high heat until it reaches 375ºF (190°C). Line a baking sheet with paper towels.
- Working in batches to avoid crowding the pan, fry the polenta sticks for 2–4 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.
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