O'Keefe in the News

Savory Polenta

Savory Polenta

March 17, 2022

As published in Detroit Lawyer

By Andrew Malec, Ph.D.

Delicious, savory corn grits!

I really enjoy cooking and creating different flavor profiles and contrasting textures in my dishes. This is a very comforting and quick dish to prepare that I made one evening for dinner. This dish can literally be prepared in 15 minutes.

I really like this dish because of the balance between the savory and sweet notes of the polenta contrasted against the saltiness of the speck and Parmigiano Reggiano. Although the instructions on my yellow corn grits say to use a 3:1 ratio of liquid to polenta, I prefer a 4:1 liquid ratio for the smoothness and silkiness that results. The textural element that the crispy speck (an Italian cured smoked ham) lends to this dish is an important contrasting element to the smooth polenta. So is the “pop” from the addition of the green peas which also provides a great textural contrast to the creaminess of the polenta, and lends a refreshing garden element to accompany the richness of the chicken infused polenta
with just a hint of thyme.

I also like this dish because of its versatility. Non-meat eaters can substitute pan-seared scallops or shrimp for the speck, and vegetable stock can also be substituted for the chicken stock. However, remember to include a textural component such as green beans or asparagus if you are not topping your polenta with crispy speck, prosciutto, or bacon. Depending on the ingredients you choose to include in your dish, you can also utilize different seasonings to change the flavor profile of the dish (e.g., fennel seeds for an anise flavor, or ginger for an Asian flavor).

This is a simple, but very flavorful dish to prepare. If you are so inclined, please give this dish a try. Enjoy!