I’ve met Nuno in a newly opened Portuguese community resource centre on Clifton street where he works. He shared with me one of the classics of Portuguese cuisine – Milho Frito, which is a side-dish usually eaten with tuna steak soup. Milho frito is made of polenta, which is a staple food in Portugal. It’s loved because it’s cheap and goes a long way. Milho Frito can also be eaten as a side-dish with eggs or beans. If Nuno was making it he would make a big batch to serve a crowd. I’ve adapted the recipe below to feed only two. It makes it easier to cook and to avoid the dreaded lumps.
1. 1/2 cup polenta
2. 2 1/2 cups water
3. 1 cube of stock
4. 1 small onion, diced
5. one clove of minced garlic
6. 6-7 leaves of kale leaves, minced
7. a pinch of salt
1. Fry onion and garlic in a pan with a bit of oil until brown.
2. Add water and a stock cube. Heat it up until boiling.
3. When water is boiling add polenta through the sieve in order to avoid lumps and keep stirring. This is the decisive moment when cooking polenta, and stirring it will help prevent the lumps. Another way to avoid lumps is to put polenta in a bit of water and leave it for a few minutes before putting it into a pot. This can help reduce the lumps significantly.
4. Add the minced kale to the pot, and mix it. Keep cooking until water is absorbed, for about 15 minutes.
5. When cooked put it in a tray and let it cool. When completely cold, cut it in squares and fry in a bit of oil.