Fried Polenta and Goats Cheese with Gooseberry and Chilli Relish



  • 50ml water
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 170g quick-cook polenta
  • Grated zest of 1 lemon
  • About 3 tablespoons olive oil
  • 200g strong goat’s cheese

For the gooseberry relish :

  • 500g gooseberries
  • 150g caster sugar
  • 60ml red-wine vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon freshly grated ginger
  • 2 red chillies (or more, to taste), very thinly sliced
  • 12 basil leaves, shredded


  1. Start with the relish. Put half the gooseberries, the sugar, vinegar, ginger and chillies in a medium pan, add a pinch of salt, bring to a boil and simmer gently for 25-35 minutes, until slightly thickened. Lightly crush the cooked fruit with a wooden spoon, add the remaining gooseberries and cook for 10-15 minutes more. Remove from the heat and leave to cool down completely.
  2. While the relish is cooking, move on to the polenta. In a small pan, bring the water and salt to a boil and, stirring vigorously with a wooden spoon, slowly pour in the polenta. Reduce the heat and keep stirring until the polenta forms a ball and comes away from the edge of the pan – three to five minutes. Remove from the heat, stir in the lemon zest and a tablespoon of the oil, and tip into an oiled, heatproof 20cm x 15cm dish. Level with a spatula so you get an even, 1cm-thick layer. Leave to cool completely.
  3. Preheat the oven to 200°C. Tip the set polenta on to a board and cut into six triangles (or 12 half-size ones, if you prefer). Heat a frying pan with about a tablespoon of olive oil until it starts to smoke, then fry the polenta in batches for two minutes a side, until golden brown, then transfer to an oven tray lined with baking paper. Crumble or grate the cheese over the polenta, then bake until the cheese begins to melt – two to three minutes. Transfer to plates, spoon a tablespoon of relish on each wedge and sprinkle with basil. Serve with a green salad.