I’m somewhat reticent to admit it, but the side dishes I prepare to accompany our main meals are invariably a way-too-simple selection of vegetables. Boiled, steamed, fried or roasted… depending on the dish they are to supplement and how much time I have to spend on preparing them. They are sadly more of an afterthought, than a feature. Eyes glancing through the crisper drawer once the main meal is underway, to work out what will go well. More of a means for getting nutritious vegetables into our bodies each and every day, than for pure enjoyment.
So in an effort to spice up the sides, to find new and interesting textures and flavours, join me in my mission to bring a little more life to the humble carrot, bean or potato. If you have any simple twists (that don’t require additional hours of prep/cooking) that produce delicious sides, I would love to hear about (and try!) them – please feel free to add a link to your special recipe on your blog if you’ve posted already)!
This idea for coating potatoes in a light sprinkling of polenta/cornmeal worked really well for me… I loved the gritty crunchiness and flavour that the polenta imparts and imagine they could be improved on even further by the addition of some finely chopped herbs (rosemary and thyme come to mind initially). Yet another idea from the beautiful Donna Hay Cookbook, that I’ve been getting plenty of use from lately.
Polenta-Crusted Roast Potatoes | Gather and Graze
- 500g/4 Medium Starchy Potatoes (Peeled and Quartered)
- 40g/¼ Cup Polenta/Cornmeal
- ½-1 Teaspoon Sea Salt
- 2 Tablespoons Olive Oil
Pre-heat the oven to 220°C.
Place the potatoes into a large pot of salted water and bring to the boil. Cook for about 10-12 minutes until just tender. Drain and place back into the pot, along with the polenta, salt and olive oil and shake (or stir with a wooden spoon) to coat the potatoes. Tip onto a baking tray and bake in the oven for about 30 minutes until golden and crispy.
These crispy potatoes go beautifully alongside my Oven-Baked Italian Chicken, as can be seen in the background of this final photo.
* Recipe from Donna Hay
Wow, what a gorgeous photos (crumbs falling) and the props are attention takers too. 🙂
Thanks for your generous comment Fae! I’m still finding my way with food photography… but loving every minute of learning how to improve day by day and trying to find my own style.
It occurred to me today I have not stopped by to say hi to Margot in quite some time! I have been a very busy bee this summer (more so than usual) and have not been spending near enough time both in the kitchen and visiting my favorite blog (gatherandgraze). This is such a lovely dish Margot, something I would love to serve on a cool dark evening with a few tea lights scattered around the table and kitchen. I’ll keep this recipe for sure. 🙂
Thanks Seana for such a lovely comment! The lamb shanks were absolutely delicious – I can well recommend them for when your seasons change once again. Have a fab weekend!
I stopped by as a result of a mutual blogging friends’ recommendation (foodisthebestshitever) and … I’m glad I did !! I look forward to seeing more from you … stay hungry !! 🙂
Wow, thanks so very much! I look forward to coming across very soon to check out ‘Carnivore Confidential’. Cheers, Margot
I’ll try not to disappoint 🙂 … stay hungry! !
After reorganising email notifications for new posts I’ve just found yours! Ouch. Will have to get used to this new system. Don’t really have any links that I can think of. When I don’t have ideas is when I tend to go along the lines of Petits pois à la Française where I’ll use a little stock, herbs and stuff. Works really well with most green veg.
Thanks Johnny – great tip on the use of stock etc for cooking the green veggies. I’ll have to give that a go. Cheers, M
Side dishes are often an afterthought for me too, Margot. I don’t have much to offer in the way of sprucing up veggies, except with potatoes, I often change up the herb flavoring or spice mixtures I toss the potatoes in before roasting. I have yet to try a polenta crusted roast potato, but it sounds like something I would really enjoy. Thanks! xx
Hi Ngan, thanks so much for your kind comment! Rosemary has always been my go-to herb to throw in with the roast potatoes, but you’re right about mixing it up with a wide variety of both spices and herbs! The other night, I did try a little sprinkling of cumin seeds and fennel seeds over some halved kipfler potatoes that I was roasting and it worked really well… Lots more experimenting to be done! 🙂
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Wonderful – I’ve made parmesan coated parsnips but I think your polenta coatd potatoes would top them!
Now there’s another lovely idea! Parmesan coated vegetables sound wonderful Tanya – thanks for the tip!
I love your photos – those potatoes look like the best things ever!!
Thanks Trixpin… roast potatoes usually don’t need much in the way of improving, but when I saw this idea I absolutely had to try it!
Brilliant! I’m gonna try this.. what a taste on roasted potatoes. I am sure the cornmeal crust would be great on these.
Hi Jo, I think they work really well as a side for an Italian/Meditteranean dish particularly… something with a little sauce! 🙂
Love the idea of polenta crusted potatos – how creative! And the thought of the crunchy texture makes my mouth water. Love the photo with the floating sprinkles – very FUN! Can’t wait to see what other things you come up with to jazz up the humble potato, carrot and bean.
Cheers Azita! I know that there must be so many super easy ways of jazzing up these vegetables… I just need to be a little more creative and try a few new things! I’m sure your Persian table would not stand for a bowl of bland vegetables! 🙂 Thanks re the photo, the sea salt flakes are not as clear as I would have liked them… but was happy to play around with the technique.
Oh my those look incredible, Never would have thought to coat potato in polenta, great and very creative idea, I could make a whole meal out of them.
Thank you Suzanne. I’ll be roasting them again like this on a regular basis – love the added crispiness! Have a great weekend. 🙂
This looks delicious Margot! For many of us life gets so busy that simple dishes like this can be lifesavers. 🙂
It’s such an easy addition to normal roasted potatoes and gives them that different texture and flavour – lovely to have a change once in awhile!
Oh this is genius!!
Just wish I was the genius who thought of them first! 😉
This look so wonderfully crispy. I love that you didn’t even have to fry them.
They had a lovely crispy exterior Mary! Plus they were still delicious when cooled down to warm/room temperature – I enjoyed a few too many after taking the photos!
Lovely idea Margot, simple and so delicious 🙂 The picture is gorgeous too!
Thanks so much Linda! Simple and delicious is what I’m after these days! 🙂
Woow. Such a unique idea. I could have never thought of using polenta as the crust.
Me either Sadia – it comes from a well-known Australian magazine editor/food stylist/author by the name of Donna Hay – I find her recipes to often be quite interesting, as well as reliable. Thanks for your lovely comment! 🙂
What a lovely idea, I like that the polenta has retained the golden colour x
Thanks very much Deena. I liked the fact that they didn’t go too dark when roasted as well. Surprising, as they’re cooked at quite a high temperature.
I am the same Margot, these days the most exciting my potatoes get are if I roast them in duck fat 🙂 I have been meaning to buy a copy of “River cottage everyday veg” I have seen quite a few people cooking and blogging about it and it looks like an interesting way to add a bit more excitement to the veges.
Ooooh Karen, I’ve just bought my first jar of duck fat very recently and used it for sautéing some potatoes – still perfecting the use of this ingredient… and perhaps roasting is a better way to go – I’ll try it that way next time. I love Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall and have a couple of his cookbooks, but haven’t seen the ‘everyday veg’ one – will have to keep an eye out for it – sounds perfect!
Who would’ve thunk it? Donna Hay i guess… These things look damn good!
Cheers! A couple of weeks ago I fried up some calamari that was dusted in a mixture of polenta and seasoned flour – it worked really well too. I’m happy as it’s not an ingredient I’ve used too much in the past…
I’ve crumbed all sorts of stuff in polenta but never thought to do potatoes… Why did I not think to do potatoes *shaking fist*
I’m feeling your frustration! 😉 Guess it’s never too late to start though…
I’m on it!
Coating potatoes with cornmeal is awesome.. Yummy
Yummy indeed… well, I certainly thought they were! I couldn’t stop eating them! 🙂
Margot, you read my mind! I was just thinking of turning our humble roasted potatoes into something more special, and was looking into coating them with panko breadcrumbs. I think you’ve just come up with an even better way. Polenta crusted, how ingenious! 🙂
How lovely Angie – happy to have given you another possible option! 🙂 The panko sounds well worth trying too – thanks for the suggestion.
I hear your pain! We’re just coming our of the phase where young children demand simple steamed veggies that are easily identifiable as such. They eat chilli and love curries, but not if they mix up veggies! I’m now resurrecting some golden oldies that we once enjoyed (before kids). I love this polenta idea, by the way. It’s certainly one I’ll try.
Lovely to hear from you. It sounds very much like we’re reaching a similar stage in life, where the children are more open to eating a wider variety of food (though perhaps only just…) Isn’t it exciting to finally be able to experiment a little once again and have some flexibility to cook from more exotic cuisines?! It’s been a long time coming… so even more reason to get myself out of this rut of boring vegetables!
This is a fantastic idea! I’ve never really done anything like this with potatoes… roasted, mashed, boiled, with pesto, yes, but never crumbed! I do enjoy putting effort into vegetable side dishes as it makes the meal just that little bit more special. I might try this out over the weekend. Lovely post – gorgeous photos as always! x
Thanks so much Laura… I’d like to say it’s a ‘time management’ thing, but that’s not really an excuse when there are so many easy and quick ways of spicing up the veggies. I really just need to start making more of an effort… plus the boys are certainly old enough now to enjoy a little experimentation of vegetable transformation! 🙂
Thank you Lori! 🙂