Polenta Cakes; boiled potatoes – yes or no?

In the beginning of time I always varied the carbohydrate component of our dinners. In a typical week we would have pasta twice, rice of some sort twice, potatoes twice and something else – quinoa, barley, couscous or polenta.

Then mon mari had his pancreas removed and became an instant T1 diabetic.

Things changed….

It was, and still is to some degree, easiest for him to coordinate the right insulin for potatoes.

We eat all the other stuff only occasionally – well he does anyway. It’s not all that difficult to cook both a potato and a small serving of barley or quinoa. We have a main course pasta or risotto almost every week.

And. sometimes, we still have couscous or polenta as a side dish……

I used metal rings to make these, but they can be free-form. It’s the flavor, not the shape that counts.

Sautéed Polenta Cakes

Total time: 35 minutes


  • 1 cup (8oz, 240ml) chicken stock
  • 1/4 cup (1.5oz, 45gr) polenta, quick-cooking
  • 1/4 cup Parmesan
  • 4 dry-cured Greek Olives, pitted and chopped
  • 1 tbs olive oil


  • Bring stock to a boil in a small saucepan.
  • Add polenta, whisking constantly – or it will have little volcanic eruptions spewing polenta everywhere.
  • Turn heat down and cook about 5 minutes (or whatever your package tells you), stirring constantly.
  • When done, stir in cheese, olives and remove from heat.
  • If using rings:  Place 2 rings on lightly oiled cling film or parchment paper..
  • Spoon 1/4 of the polenta into each ring and flatten.
  • Let rest 2 minutes, then remove ring and repeat. (I only have 2 rings).
  • If not using rings:  Divide the polenta into 4ths.  Place each 4th on cling film / parchment paper and pat into circles 3 inches (7.5cm) in diameter.
  • Allow polenta to cool, 10 – 15 minutes (or longer).
  • Heat oil in a medium nonstick skillet.  Add polenta and sauté until browned, turn and brown the other side.
  • Remove and serve.

Print Recipe

When I was a child we had boiled potatoes for dinner 85% of the time.

I really started to hate boiled potatoes…..

Sometimes we had fried potatoes or mashed potatoes or baked potatoes.

That accounted for another 14%

My mother was a very traditional cook.

The only thing we had in the pasta category was Creamettes (do they still exist?) and those would be in macaroni and cheese or some other ‘hot dish’.

The only time we had rice was when she made rice pudding for dessert.

Okay, now I’m craving rice pudding….. I haven’t had it since the last time my mother made it for me as a child.

As to the boiled potatoes….. Of course I make them – every decade or so.

Are they part of your menu on a regular basis or no?

Last update on January 8, 2017

8 thoughts on “Polenta Cakes; boiled potatoes – yes or no?”

  1. Can’t remember the last time I have had boiled potatoes, my mom made the best. Now I am hungry for boiled potatoes in butter sauce!

  2. Love, love boiled potatoes. Especially the little reds and creamers. Add salt, melted butter. cottage cheese and chopped onions. Perfect meal in itself. Something from childhood that I can’t get rid of.

  3. I haven’t had boiled potatoes since my mother passed and that was almost 30 years ago. Now I’m getting nostalgic!

  4. My mom made boiled potatoes several days a week. I love potatoes but eating them plain boiled is so boring. So now I eat them baked, fried, scalloped, mashed, roasted and in a salad. My mom did make the best potato salad and I make it often during the summer.

  5. Delline,sometimes… with lots of butter, salt and pepper

    Susan, I do love the little new potatoes with just butter…. And now I’m missing cottage cheese! One of the few things I can’t find here

    nightsmusic, it was such a standard when I was growing up. But I don’t peel them (mother would be appalled)

    Ina, very boring. Our current fave is spiralized and roasted.

    Gloria, we can’t get good, floury baking potatoes, so I miss those, And I love potato salad! And scalloped….

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