Polenta is cooked over flames; salted water is brought to a boil in a copper cauldron hung by chains over a fireplace; the corn meal is sprinkled in while stirring to avoid the formation of lumps, using a long stick – usually from a hazel plant. It’s important to stir continually while cooking, so the polenta, after nearly 50 minutes – by then dense and compact – detaches from the walls of the cauldron on its own. At that point, it is ready to be poured onto a platter made of wood or braided small hazel branches. Now let’s take a look at a few ancient Lake Como recipes.
Polenta and eggs: in a saucepan placed on the fire, cook one or more eggs with butter, then dip the slices of polenta into it.
Polenta uncia (buttered in dialect): besides the basic polenta ingredients, you’ll need a medium fat cheese, butter, garlic and sage. Prepare the polenta, and at the same time, in a separate sauce pan, place an abundance of butter, garlic slices and sage, and let it get golden brown. Once the polenta is cooked, place bite size slices into a pot, alternating it with layers of pieces of cheese; in the end pour the warm sauce over it and serve.
Polenta with potatoes: polenta leftovers from the day before are used. Placing the fregui de pulenta (polenta crumbs) into a cauldron, add some smashed boiled potatoes; stirring it over a flame, the mixture softens.
Polenta and sugar: bite-sized slices of warm polenta, sprinkled with sugar, or even honey or marmalades. At one time, children really loved this dish.
Polenta and misultitt: typical fisherman dish – a slice of toasted polenta with a misultin – or shad or another fish, freshly fried – on top, all seasoned with a spritz of vinegar.
La Balota: this dish is prepared with two slices of polenta. Place some cheese and a little butter on one slice; them place another slice on top, pressing the edges to seal it off. Finally, toast it on grill.
Polenta and zucchini: Slice a large zucchini and cook it in a saucepan with cherry tomatoes, oil and salt - accompanied by a steamy slice of polenta – the ensemble constituted a tasty all-in-one course.
Based on the book: Tacàa al fööch by Lucia Sala - Editions Cesarenani.
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