Hack Of The Day: Polenta Croutons

I really love slice 'n cook polenta. It's more or less the same as if you'd cooked a batch (suffering multiple molten polenta burns), spread it into a pan, waited for that to cool and set forever, then sliced and fried or grilled it. Much easier is cracking open a log of pre-cooked polenta for cornmeal mush needs.

Of course, if you're going for soft polenta, you'll still want to make it from scratch, but these things hold up so nicely when cooked (and cost about $3 a roll at Trader Joe's) that I can have warm, crisp, chewy polenta croutons on my salad whenever I want without making a whole song and dance out of it.

Preheat the oven to 400F. Square off the sides and ends of an unwrapped polenta log, then cut it into 1 to 1 1/2-inch cubes. Toss cubes lightly in a bowl with olive oil, coarse salt and pepper, plus anything else you like (parmesan, fresh herbs and chili flakes all work nicely). Lightly oil a baking sheet, arrange the cubes so that they're not touching, then bake for 25-30 minutes or until golden brown and crisp on the outside. Let cool slightly before adding to a salad. Here are some good ones:

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