Is Polenta an Aphrodisiac?
I am not going to answer this question right now. I am just going to direct you to YC Biograd and their president. They organize the famous St. Valentine’s regatta in the waters between the Croatian mainland and Pašman island, north Dalmatia. Apart from sailing, this cheerful regatta is full of all sorts of romantic and interesting events such as polenta tasting. According to the organizers, polenta is the only proven natural aphrodisiac, so one can taste more than ten different kinds of polenta during the regatta. However, it’s up to you to discover whether this works or not… My idea is to share with you one special way how to prepare a really unusual and tasteful polenta.
This meal is very simple to prepare – you just need to cook corn grits with some fat, let it cool down for a while and serve it. In the continental part of Croatia polenta can be cooked with bacon and pork fat; served as a single dish with cream or cottage cheese, or simply as a side dish with any sort of stew. In Dalmatia, we prefer polenta as a side dish served with brodet, a local specialty that looks like a fish stew.
Polenta I am just about to present turns out so tasty that it can be served as a single dish. Let me explain to you what makes it so special. Firstly, when cooking grits, make sure that you use local extra virgin olive oil instead of the commonly used butter. Use coarse salt but do not put too much. Stir polenta with force as it gets close to boiling. Do not stop stirring while adding the ingredients. When the first bubbles appear, add one or two bags of cuttlefish ink. You don’t have to catch the fish first, just visit the nearest supermarket and buy the bagged ink…
Before cooking, you should slightly cut a handful of seedless black olives. Add them to polenta before it gets too thick. The top ingredient is Italian grated cheese, preferably Grana Padano. When the polenta gets thick enough, it’s time to take it off the fire and pour it into a relatively deep container or a dish. Make sure that the sides of the container are wet. That will prevent polenta from sticking to the sides. Leave it for some 15 min to cool down and solidify.
Before serving, take a plate or a tray on the top of the polenta container and turn it upside down quickly. This way you will get your polenta ready to serve. Cut it like a cake and enjoy. I will leave it up to you whether you will try it as a single dish first or whether you will prepare something juicy to serve with the polenta. I am looking forward to hearing your impressions as well as suggestions for improvements…
I wish you a calm sea, a fair wind and a strong mast!