Parmesan Polenta Fries with Chipotle Nut Dip
Morita chiles are red, fully mature Chipotles. This gives them a unique, medium – hot smokey flavor which is popular in many Southwestern dishes. These can be added to sauces (including Mole) to add smokey flavor and maintain the red color of the sauces. These peppers are about 2-4 inches in length, 1 inch in width, and have a deep brick reddish brown color. The word Chipotle translated to smoked chile. Consider the Chipotle a 6.5 on a scale of 1-10 (10 being the hottest). Scoville heat units 7,000-25,000.
Use Morita in enchilada sauces, chili, stews, barbecue ribs, and corn bread. Their smoky quality combines well with poultry, meats and fall squash.
(3 1/4) cups cold water
(1) cup coarse polenta
(3/4) tsp salt
(1/2) cup grated Parmesan
2 tablespoons butter or coconut butter
olive oil for brushing
CHIPOTLE NUT DIP:
(1/2) cup raw macadamia nuts (or whole cashews)
(1) tbs olive oil
(2- 3) tbs lime juice
(2) whole chipotle peppers
(1/2) tsp salt
(1/4) cup water
finely chopped cilantro for garnish (optional)
Brush an 8-inch square baking dish with oil. Combine water, polenta, and 3/4 teaspoon salt in a heavy medium saucepan and bring to a boil over medium heat, whisking. Once the polenta boils, reduce heat to medium-low and cook, stirring here and there with a wooden spoon until thick , about 15-20 minutes, ensuring the heat is low enough that it doesn’t stick or burn to the bottom.
Stir in cheese and butter until incorporated, then transfer polenta to the baking dish, spreading evenly with a dampened rubber spatula. Chill, uncovered, until set, about 45 minutes. This can be done well in advance, even up to a day (which is what I did), just cover it in foil after it’s cooled and it will be good for days.
To cook, heat the oven broiler. Line a baking sheet with foil and brush (very lightly) with oil, or you can do this without the foil.
Remove the polenta from the pan, and place on a work surface. With a sharp knife, cut into one inch sticks (I got about 22 fries). Place the fries oil side down on the oiled pan or foil, and brush the tops with oil and space evenly on the baking sheet. Broil about 4 inches from heat until golden, 15 to 20 minutes. Flip over carefully and broil a further 5 minutes on the other side until crispy and golden. Remove from the oven and let cool a little.
For the Dip:
Combine all ingredients in a blender and blend until creamy, tasting to adjust the lime juice (I like it on the tart side). I happen to be sitting on a 5 pound bag of macadamia nuts that I bought in Hawaii, and had been wanting to try them in a nut dip for some time. I’d say it far exceeded my expectations (I adore mac nuts). For those who wish to use cashews, the result will be just as delicious, just not as rich and creamy (but very very close).
Serve in a bowl garnished with cilantro for color if desired.