Tuesday, June 22, 2010

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!


  1. Ymmm the pamesan dipping sauce sounds interesting! I will have to try this!

  2. These were AMAZING...I could eat this everynight!