Bacon and sage polenta fries

Bacon and sage polenta fries

Man Food
Billy Law

If you’ve never tried polenta fries, then you've got to make this, pronto! These fries are soft and cheesy on the inside and — because they’ve been coated with semolina — crisp on the outside. The semolina also acts as a shield to stop the oil seeping into the polenta chips, making them greasy and easy to fall apart.


Quantity Ingredient
2 tablespoons olive oil
2 bacon slices, cut into thin strips
1 litre vegetable stock
300g instant polenta
100g parmesan, grated, plus extra for serving
1 tablespoon thyme leaves
1 tablespoon sage leaves, finely chopped
sea salt, to taste
freshly ground black pepper, to taste
60g fine semolina or polenta
oil, for shallow-frying
parmesan, to serve


  1. Heat the oil in a frying pan over a medium–high heat, fry the bacon for about 10 minutes, or until very crisp and almost dark brown in colour. Drain the bacon on paper towel. Once the bacon is completely cool, chop with a knife or use a food processor to blitz into coarse crumbs.
  2. Heat the stock in a large saucepan over a medium–high heat to a rolling boil. Using a wooden spoon, stir the stock as you rain the polenta into it. Reduce the heat to low and stir continuously for 10–15 minutes, until the liquid has been absorbed and the polenta is very thick. Add the parmesan, herbs and bacon crumbs, then stir until fully incorporated. Taste and season with salt and pepper.
  3. Pour the polenta into a lightly greased 18 x 32 cm baking tin. Spread the polenta evenly, using a wet spatula or your hand, smooth and press down firmly, let it cool to room temperature then refrigerate for 2 hours, or until it sets.
  4. Cut the polenta into 1.5 cm sticks about 8 cm long. Place the semolina in a shallow bowl. In batches, toss the polenta sticks in the semolina to coat evenly, shake off any excess and place on a tray ready for frying.
  5. Heat 1 cm of oil in a frying pan over a high heat. Add the polenta, in batches and do not overcrowd, fry for 2–3 minutes each side or until golden. Remove and drain on paper towel, season with salt while hot. Transfer to a serving bowl and grate a generous amount of parmesan cheese on top.
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