Adventures with Blue Cornmeal: Grilled Polenta "Fries"

Remember our blue corn flour?!

Kitchn reader gayatri suggested polenta, and we thought this was a mighty fine idea--particularly as a colorful side dish for a 4th of July barbecue we were hosting!

After realizing that we were actually working with the more finely-ground harinilla instead of blue cornmeal, we weren't quite sure how this would work out.

But if we've learned nothing else from Iron Chef, it's take your secret ingredient and run with it. And so we did!

We started off with our basic polenta ratio of 1 cup of cornmeal to 4 cups of liquid--using half veggie broth and half water for the liquid.

We stirred the polenta for 20 minutes until it was a thick porridge and then poured it into a loaf pan to cool and solidify.

Our grand vision was to cut the polenta loaf into thick "fries" and sear them individually on the grill, but it didn't quite work out that way.

The polenta held together (barely), but then sagged through the grates of the hot grill. We're thinking the finer ground harinilla didn't absorb as much liquid as regular cornmeal, so it never completely solidified.

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With some quick scooping action, we were able to save the polenta. The resulting "polenta mash" wasn't exactly the elegant presentation we were going for (see left).

Ah, well. It still tasted great! The harinilla had an earthy mineral flavor that made a nice backdrop to the rest of our barbecued spread.

Plus, the polenta was truly blue! If you find yourself with some blue cornmeal and really want to showcase its unique color, this is definitely the way to go.

We still have a few cups of flour left, so we'll be back with some more experiments soon...

Related: Recipe: Savory Blue Cornmeal Griddle Cakes