When my mom randomly asked if I wanted some polenta I didn’t quite know what I was getting. Did she have a box of BOGO and I was getting the freebie? Did she make it and had extra? Didn’t she make it and not like it? If anyone knows me, I’m usually always hungry, so sure I’ll take it! I head over to my parents house where my mother hands me this and says, “Here take this we’ve been eating it for days”
When I think polenta, I think Italian. But, it’s breakfast time and I haven’t been to the store in days so all that’s left is one lonely egg and this newly acquired “pre-made” polenta. Remembering my mom said it was good pan fried with a little EVOO and with a quick google search (Polenta French Toast), I started cooking.
The original recipe added in flavors while cooking the polenta. If I was starting from scratch this would be a great way to incorporate flavors throughout. I, however, am using my mothers leftovers. I took one square and sliced it into sticks and fried them in a little EVOO. Make sure the pan is really hot before placing the polenta in. It will have less of a chance to break before it gets browned. Once done, I immediately sprinkled them with cinnamon and sugar.
While the polenta was cooking, I realized I still had a small amount of frozen mixed berries left over from smoothies I had made earlier in the week. My friend Christine recently shared with me that during the peak summer months she freezes all her fruit to make it last longer and then adds them to smoothies and summer treats! I tried it and it’s great! Why didn’t I think of this before??? The small amount left over was perfect for a quick berry sauce to go with my “french toast”.
I added sugar, lemon juice and lemon zest. I love fresh lemons and adding it to the frozen berries brought a brightness to them. I stirred the berries occasionally until no longer frozen. I did add some cornstarch to thicken them but once the sauce cooled it really thickened and was more like a jam. If you prefer a runnier sauce I would omit the cornstarch.
Who would have thought leftovers could be so good and polenta be the least bit Italian! Curbed my breakfast craving and the perfect way to use up leftover food in a new and interesting way! It was also the excuse I had been looking for to use the pure maple syrup my parents gave me from their recent trip to Quebec! Whatever your favorite french toast toppings may be, I’m sure the combinations are endless. Experiment and enjoy!
- If using boxed polenta, follow direction found on box.
- 3-4 pieces of polenta cut into sticks per person, depending on thickness of sticks
- Cinnamon and sugar topping
- Maple Syrup
- 1 tablespoon sugar
- 2 teaspoons cinnamon
- dash of nutmeg (optional)
- 1/2 cup frozen mixed berries
- 1 teaspoon sugar
- 1/2 teaspoon lemon juice
- lemon zest, to taste
- 1/4 teaspoon cornstarch
- Following the basic polenta recipe on box, spread polenta into an oiled baking dish. The size of the dish will determine the thickness of your fried polenta.
- Use a spatula or the back of a spoon to evenly spread the polenta.
- Cover and place in refrigerator until firm and cool. About 2 hours or overnight.
- Once cooled, polenta can be cut into any shape but sticks are perfect for this french toast.
- In a pan, heat EVOO on medium high heat just before smoking. Add polenta sticks to pan and cook until golden brown. Carefully flip sticks and brown other side. About 6 minutes per side.
- Remove from pan and immediately sprinkle with cinnamon and sugar.
- Mix together all ingreadients.
- In a Sauce pan heat, on medium low heat, frozen berries, sugar, lemon juice, and lemon zest.
- Stir occasionally until no longer frozen.
- Mash berries with back of spoon, if desired.
- Add cornstarch and stir until thickened.
- Place polenta french toast sticks on a plate, top with berry sauce and drizzle with maple syrup.
- I wrote this recipe with 2 servings in mind. It can easily be adjusted for the number of servings you need. When frying the polenta, make sure pan is hot before adding it. This will reduce the likelihood of it breaking apart before browned. After making the berry sauce, depending on the tartness of the fruit, you may need to add more sugar. The cinnamon and sugar topping will make extra, just save and store for future use.