The New Year…and on the Eighth Day of Christmas…

Still in a Holiday mood?  Or want some comfort food. 
…and on the Eighth Day of Christmas…Polenta Cheese Fritters. 
Great gastro-pub small plate.  FOH or your own homestead. Crisp and cheesy comfort food for that after-the-holidays slump. Pair it with some greens.  Or black-eyed peas. 
The Menu Shoppe has it covered…more great “finds”.
Polenta Cheese Fritters 
1 1/2 cups yellow cornmeal
1/2 cup all-purpose flour
1/4 cup sugar
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1 cup buttermilk
1 cup water
1/2 cup coarsely grated Edam cheese
1 1/2 cups canola oil
chopped fresh parsley
Lightly oil 8x8x2 baking pan. Whisk cornmeal, flour, sguar and salt in bowl. Bring buttermilk and 1 cup water to boil in large saucepan over medium-high heat. Gradually whisk in dry ingredients. Reduce heat to medium-low. Simmer until very thick, whisking constantly, about 2 minutes. Remove from heat. Mix in cheese. Transfer batter to prepared pan. Press to even layer. Chill until cold. Cut fritter batter into 3 strips. Cut each strip crosswise into 8 rectangles. Turn rectangles out of pan onto work surface. Heat oil in medium skillet over medium-high heat. Working in batches, add fritters to skillet and saute until golden brown, about 5 minutes per side. Transfer fritters to paper towels to drain. Arrange fritters on platter. Sprinkle with parsley and serve hot. Dress with some alfredo or horsey sauce.  Or be creative…add baby bay scallops or a rustic ragout for a more substantial small plate.
Strawberry-Spinach Salad
2 tablespoons sesame seeds
1 tablespoon poppy seeds
1/2 cup white sugar
1/2 cup olive oil
1/4 cup distilled white vinegar
1/4 teaspoon paprika
1/4 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
1 tablespoon minced onion
10 ounces fresh spinach – rinsed, dried and torn into bite-size pieces
1 quart strawberries – cleaned, hulled and sliced
In a medium bowl, whisk together the sesame seeds, poppy seeds, sugar, olive oil, vinegar, paprika, Worcestershire sauce and onion. Cover, and chill for one hour. In a large bowl, combine the spinach, strawberries and almonds. Pour dressing over salad, and toss. Refrigerate 10 to 15 minutes before serving. Enhance with sliced kiwi and pine nuts.
Nutritional values:
amount Per Serving  Calories: 491 | Total Fat: 35.2g | Cholesterol: 0mg
Black-eyed Pea Salad
1 (16-oz.) package frozen black-eyed peas
1/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro
1/4 cup red pepper jelly
1/4 cup red wine vinegar
2 tablespoons olive oil
3/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground pepper
1 cup diced red bell pepper
1/3 cup diced red onion
2 large fresh peaches, peeled and diced
2 cups torn watercress (or greens of choice )
Prepare peas according to package directions, simmering only until al dente; drain and let cool 1 hour. Whisk together cilantro and next 6 ingredients in a large bowl. Add cooked black-eyed peas, bell pepper, and onion, tossing to coat.  Cover and chill 8 hours. Stir peaches and watercress into pea mixture just before serving.
If it’s on the menu…the Menu Shoppe has it covered.
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