Fried Polenta Sticks with Sage
- 5 cups water
- 1 tsp. salt, plus more, to taste
- 1 1/4 cups polenta
- 1/2 cup grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese
- 2 Tbs. chopped fresh sage
- 3 Tbs. unsalted butter
- Freshly ground pepper, to taste
- 2 cups all-purpose flour
- Olive oil and safflower oil for deep-frying
- Fresh herb sprigs for garnish
Butter a 9-inch square pan. Pour the hot polenta into the prepared pan and smooth the top with a rubber spatula. Let cool slightly, then cover and refrigerate until cold and set, at least 1 hour or up to 3 days.
Using a sharp knife, cut the polenta into sticks 3 inches long by 1/2 inch wide. Toss them gently with the flour, dusting lightly.
Position a rack in the upper third of an oven and preheat to 400°F.
Pour equal amounts of the olive and safflower oils into a large, deep fry pan to a depth of 2 inches. Heat on the stovetop on medium-high heat to 375°F on a deep-frying thermometer. Add the polenta sticks a few at a time and fry, turning occasionally with a slotted spoon or tongs, until golden brown, 1 to 2 minutes. Transfer to paper towels to drain, then keep warm in the oven until all are cooked.
Arrange the polenta sticks on a warmed platter and season with salt. Garnish with herb sprigs and serve immediately.