baking

>Polenta Fries with Basil Oil and Parmesan Dipping Sauce


>The last time we were in Philly visiting friends, we made a pit stop between sports bars at a swanky little restaurant to get some tasty treats.  One of which came in the form of a french fry served with a fondue dipping sauce and a drizzle of basil oil.  It was probably one of the best small plates I’ve had so I decided to give it a try for Supper Club.  Still working with the premade polenta I bought last week, I sliced the brick into fry sized pieces and tossed them in olive oil, sea salt and cracked black pepper.  We baked them at a really high temp in the oven until they came out crispy and golden on the outside and still fluffy on the inside.  As a base, I made a parmesan dipping sauce that could be made ahead and warmed through on the stove at a later time.  Here’s the fix:

Dice 1/4 white onion and saute in about a tbsp of olive oil.  Once the onions are cooked through, add 1/4 – 1/2 cup milk, 1/4 cup italian cheese blend, 1/4 cup shredded parmesan, cracked black pepper and 1 tsp nutmeg.  Whisk until the cheese is melted completely and the sauce is creamy.  Once at supper club, I transferred the mixture back to a sauce pan and warmed it through again on the stove top.  I started a bit too early so I ended up adding a few tbsps of white wine to loosen it up again.  I am convinced that wine only makes everything better, so I’ll add that to the recipe moving forward. Delicious!

The basil oil couldn’t have been easier.  I have globe and sweet basil in my garden so I gathered a few handfuls and blanched the leaves in a little salted water.   Once I patted them dry, I added the leaves to a food processor, blended and added oil until I felt I had the right consistency.  The blanching brings out the basil flavor and helps to retain that beautiful green color.

When we were about to serve the ‘fries’, I placed the glass container of basil oil in a sauce pan with about an inch of hot water to help steep the basil even more.  I left it on the stove for about 10 minutes to warm through.

Plate it up!  I smothered the parmesan sauce over a dinner plate and placed the fries directly on top of the fluffy, creamy goodness.  Topped it all off with a little drizzle of the oil and then I forgot my manners. I couldn’t resist grabbing one immediately off the plate before everyone else was served.  Whoops!

And because we take supper club seriously, we had many more delectable delights.  I am hoping Alison will share her bbq sauce recipe…and Squints her gouda mashed potatoes and corn bread…or maybe we can just have another supper club, PRONTO!

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