Crispy Polenta Cakes with Zinfandel Onion Ragu

Truett Hurst Winery

5610 Dry Creek Rd
Healdsburg, CA 95448

  • RECIPE YEAR: 2015
  • RECIPE BY: Jimtown Store, Chef Jack Herron
  • YIELD: Serves 6
  • PAIRS WELL WITH: Red Rooster Zinfandel

These crispy bites feature creamy smooth polenta inside. They're topped with a luscious reduction of red onions, sesame seeds and Zinfandel wine, which adds a nice sharp contrast and balance.

  • 2 cups water
  • 4 cups milk
  • 2 red onions, diced
  • 2 tablespoons sesame seeds
  • 2 cups Zinfandel
  • 2 tablespoons sugar
  • 2 teaspoons salt
  • 2 cups yellow cornmeal
  • 4 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 1 cup mascarpone cheese
  • 1 cup finely grated Parmesan cheese
  • 2 cups bread crumbs
  • 3 tablespoons vegetable oil


In a 4-quart heavy pot over high heat, combine the water and milk and bring to a boil. 

Meanwhile, in a large sauté pan over medium heat, combine the onions, sesame seeds, wine and sugar and let the mixture slowly reduce, stirring occasionally, until the liquid has evaporated and the onions have formed almost a jelly. 

When the water and milk are boiling, reduce the heat to low, add the salt and gradually whisk in the cornmeal. Continue to whisk until the polenta thickens and begins to pull away from the sides of the pot, about 10 minutes. Add the butter and whisk until melted. Add the mascarpone and Parmesan and whisk until melted and well combined. Remove from the heat.

Grease a rimmed baking sheet. Pour the polenta onto the prepared baking sheet. Refrigerate until the polenta is cool and completely set; it should be very firm to the touch.

Scoop out or cut the polenta into the desired size, about 3 ounces each, or just barely larger than a golf ball. Flatten into patties and dredge the polenta cakes in the bread crumbs. Keep cool.

Heat a sauté pan over medium-high heat and pour in the vegetable oil. When the oil begins to smoke, carefully place the polenta cakes in the pan and fry, turning once, until golden brown, about 1 1/2 minutes per side. 

Place the polenta cakes on a platter, top with the Zinfandel onion ragu and enjoy!

Truett Hurst Winery

5610 Dry Creek Rd
Healdsburg, CA 95448