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Cheesy Polenta Bites with a Trio of Aiolis


The expert-level recipe for Cheesy Polenta Bites Served with a Trio of Aiolis was among the 10 courses served at the 2016 final dinner presented by students graduating from the Bachelor of Science in Nutrition and Culinary Arts program. Read more about the annual event in the article Culinary Prowess on Display at Final Dinner, including links to some of the other recipes.


9 cup
whole milk
3 cup
2 1⁄2 tsp
salt, divided
8 oz
cheddar cheese
2 tbsp
2 tsp
ground black pepper (plus more to taste)
1⁄2 cup
brown rice flour
3 cup
safflower oil (divided, plus more if needed for mayonnaise)
egg yolks
1⁄2 tsp
Dijon mustard
1 tbsp
lemon juice
1 cup
beet cooking water, reduced to 4 teaspoons
1 1⁄2 tsp
2 clove
garlic, ground into a paste
1 tsp
1 tsp
jalapeno, minced finely
2 tbsp
olive oil
2 1⁄2 lb
shallots, trimmed and cut in half
1 2⁄3 cup
port wine, ruby
1 cup
balsamic vinegar
oven-roasted tomato halves
4 slice
bacon, cut into 16 one-inch squares
  to taste
pea shoots (for garnish)
  to taste
basil leaves (for garnish)
  to taste
jalapeno slices (for garnish)


For the Polenta: 

  1. In an 8-quart large heavy bottom Dutch oven bring the milk up to a low simmer over medium heat. Stir occasionally and be careful not to let the milk scorch on the bottom.
  2. While whisking continuously, add the dry polenta. Add 2 teaspoons of salt, switch to using a wooden spoon and stir every 2-3 minutes for approximately 25 minutes, or until the liquid is dissolved and the polenta is tender.
  3. Stir in the cheese and butter and add more salt and pepper to taste if necessary.
  4. Pour the polenta into two pre-greased 9-inch cake pans. Chill in the fridge for one hour, or until set completely. Remove from pan and slice into 48 one-inch cubes.
  5. In a medium sauce pan with high sides, heat 2 cups of the oil until it reaches 350 degrees F.
  6. Toss the polenta cubes in a light dusting of rice flour, shake off any excess.
  7. Fry the polenta cubes in the oil, a few at a time, until golden brown on all sides. This should take about a minute. Remove the polenta cubes with a slotted spoon and place them on a cooling rack until it is time to serve.

For the Aiolis:

  1. In the work bowl of a food processor combine the egg yolks, Dijon mustard, and lemon juice, pulse 3-4 times or until mostly smooth.
  2. With the food processor running, slowly stream in the remaining 1 to 1½ cups safflower oil, until the mayonnaise thickens and reaches the desired consistency.
  3. Split the mayonnaise into three separate bowls.
  4. In the first bowl stir in 2 teaspoons black pepper and reduced beet liquid
  5. In the second bowl stir in the garlic and turmeric
  6. In the third bowl stir in the chlorophyll and minced jalapeno.
  7. Taste all three variations and adjust seasoning with salt and lemon juice if necessary.

For the Port Wine Glazed Shallots:

  1. In a skillet, saute the shallots in the olive oil until golden brown.
  2. Add the port wine and vinegar and bring to a boil.
  3. Simmer over low – medium heat until sauce thickens slightly and begins to coat the shallots.

Polenta Bites Assembly:

Assemble the following together on a plate, add a decorative skewer for a fun finish!

  1. Black pepper mayonnaise, fried polenta cube, port wine shallot, and pea shoot garnish.
  2. Garlic aioli, fried polenta cube, oven roasted tomato, and basil leaf for garnish.
  3. Jalapeno mayonnaise, fried polenta cube, bacon, and jalapeno slices for garnish.


Cheesy Polenta Bites on plate


SourceRecipe by the Bachelor of Science in Nutrition and Culinary Arts program 2016 graduating class
Prep time
30 minutes
Cooking time
1 hour
Total time
1 1/2 hours