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Old 07-05-2011, 02:18 PM   #1
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Bitterness in polenta

I have only made polenta once. however in China there's a thinner version of polenta, very similar except thin and doesn't contain any flavoring.

So my gripe about either italian polenta or chinese polenta is with the bitterness in cornmeal. it sits there and bothers me, no matter what I add to it, sugar or chicken stock.

Unfortunately I haven't seen polenta on local restaurant menus so I don't know how it supposed to taste like. How does everyone here prepare polenta, do you also sense the bitterness in it?

Or is the bitterness simply some kind of acquired taste that I have to acquire?

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Old 07-05-2011, 02:33 PM   #2
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I've never had it taste bitter. Maybe the ground corn meal you're using?
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Old 07-05-2011, 02:37 PM   #3
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How exactly are you making your polenta? I have never had even a hint of bitterness. Polenta is one of the blandest foods around like white rice with nothing on it.
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Old 07-05-2011, 02:40 PM   #4
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hmm the way I made it:
Savory Polenta Recipe : Alton Brown : Food Network

I wonder if it's just me having sensitive tastebuds for bitter?
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Old 07-05-2011, 02:56 PM   #5
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Olive oil can be bitter. That could be it. My only other thought is your cornmeal is too old.
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Old 07-05-2011, 04:07 PM   #6
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I'd guess old cornmeal but garlic can also get an off-taste if it gets burned.
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Old 07-05-2011, 04:40 PM   #7
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It's never been bitter to me either. I'd suggest making it as simple as possible, unlike the Alton recipe that has onion, garlic and cheese, and see if it's still bitter to you. Here's the super easy recipe I use.....

1 cup Polenta, 3 1/4 cup luke warm water, 1 tsp salt, 1 tbs butter.
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Mix ingredients in a buttered 8 in square pan. Bake uncovered for 50 min, then stir with a fork and bake 10 min. more.
Taste it to see if it's bitter to you, and serve with butter and Parmesan, or with your favorite sauce on top.
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Old 07-05-2011, 04:50 PM   #8
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thanks everyone. some of you mentioned the cornmeal being old. well, mine is several months old. should I get replacement?
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Old 07-05-2011, 05:35 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Hyperion View Post
thanks everyone. some of you mentioned the cornmeal being old. well, mine is several months old. should I get replacement?
I'd make small portion of simple grits (no oil) first.

I have a feeling your olive oil may have gone rancid.
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Old 07-05-2011, 06:09 PM   #10
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"something" gone too long would be my guess as well - presuming you've been careful about not burning the garlic & black pepper.... and "old garlic" can also get bitter - if it had any green or sprouting, that's a tip off. we're pretty much at the end of last year crop/storage/distribution - could be the culprit.

you can taste the oil proper - cornmeal does go rancid as it has the plant oil in it - and although you may have it only a short time, there is the "how long has it been on the market shelf or sitting elsewhere in the distribution chain." I keep my corn meal (and other whole grains/flours) in the freezer - not sure how one can tell, other than perhaps smell - or the 'taste test' of a small batch with nothing else...
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