This week I’ve decided to make new things that put me out of my comfort zone. I’ve never cooked with polenta before, but salivate at the thought of Ottolenghi’s Sage and Parmesan version I ate at Nopi. I decided to get over my fear and pull out the packet that’s been in my cupboard ever since THAT polenta and turned to my love of Mexican food for inspiration.
One of the best things I ate whist in Mexico was a corn cake topped with griddled prawns, an amazing combination of sweet and sea like salty-ness that I recreated last night. Luckily it all worked out and the corn cakes were incredible, with the sweetness of the ground corn dominating the flavour, and a texture justlike American pancakes, light and fluffy.
With these sorts of flavours you really need something strong and savoury to avoid making the main course into an accidental dessert! So making sure the prawns were salty we essential. Next time I’ll play with the flavours and textures a bit, and I’ll try adding whole corn kernals, jalapenos or maybe even cheese. Below I’ve put the recipes for the guacamole and tomato salsa that I served them with, they’re all taken from the Thomasina Miers Mexican Food Cookbook.
Serves 2 hungry adults.
- 140g Plain Flour
- 90g fine polenta
- 2 tbsps sugar
- 2tsps baking powder
- 2 tsps bicarb of soda
- 1 egg
- 284ml of buttermilk and approx 15 ml of milk
- 75g butter
Mix all of the dry ingredients together and make a well. Add the egg to the well and slowly whisk it into the mix, adding the buttermilk and milk as the batter thickens. You want the consistency of thick American pancakes.
Melt the butter and add 3/4 to the mix before frying. Wipe your frying pan clean and turn the heat up to full until it is smoking hot. Turn it down to medium heat and add a small about of butter, following with a ladle full of batter. It will stick together in the middle of the pan so try and loosen it with your ladle until you have a cake 10cm in diameter and 1cm thick.
Leave it alone on the heat until bubbles start to appear on the surface, then flip it over for another minute until both sides are golden brown. Keep warm in the oven until all of your other bits a bobs are ready.
For the recipes for the accompanying salsa, guacamole and prawns, please click below.
Chop up, combine and then leave in the fridge for 10 minutes:
- 6 ripe plum tomatoes (with the jelly removed)
- 1/2 a medium red onion
- A handful of coriander
- 2 red chillis (add or remove depending on how hot, 2 will be spicy!)
- To taste: 1-2 squeezed limes, 1-2tsp brown sugar, salt
Combine or blend:
- 2 Avocados, mushed to a pulp
- 1/2 medium red onion, diced
- A handful of chopped coriander
- To taste: 1-2 squeezed limes, salt, pepper
Fry gently till cooked:
- A knob of butter and a dash of vegetable oil
- 250g of king prawns
- Half a sliced red pepper
- 3 cloves of crushed garlic
- A knob of chopped ginger
- A dash of Mikes Habanero Sauce
- 2 tbsps fresh chopped coriander