I just returned from a trip to visit my in-laws in shoreline Connecticut. The nutmeg state may not be known as a foodie Mecca, but it offers plenty to love, culinarily speaking. From the region’s famous buttery hot lobster rolls to the its clam fritters, essentially savory donuts—batter balls studded with plump pieces of clams, deep fried and dunked in tartar sauce. From grinders, East Coast-style submarine sandwiches piled with meatballs, sauce and cheese or with breaded-and-fried chicken cutlets with shredded lettuce, sliced tomato, and creamy mayo to the pizza, oh the pizza. Real, coal-fired brick oven-baked, thin crust, Neopolitan-style pizza, exactly the way pizza should be.
But the produce, especially in March before the farmers’ markets have opened for the season (yeah, their farmers’ markets are only open a few months of the year!), leaves much to be desired. Trips to Stop & Shop in search of salad ingredients filled me with the painful ache of homesickness. So I was relieved to return home to sunny California to find the Meyer lemon trees in my neighborhood heavy with the sweet fruit. Hungry for some fresh-picked vitamin C, I nabbed several (heh, I just took ’em without asking, There were so many, I’m sure no one noticed) off a tree down the block and scurried home to make a batch of these crunchy cookies from Jamie Oliver. The polenta gives them a toothsome crunch and their bright yellow color is like sunshine on a plate. Ahhh, it’s good to be home.
Adapted from a recipe for Orange and Polenta Biscuits by Jamie Oliver, which appeared in Food & Wine. I substituted Meyer lemon zest for the orange zest and I love how the bright lemon flavor plays off of the sunshine yellow color of these crunchy cookies.
Makes about 36 cookies.
- ¾ cups (1 ½ sticks) cold, unsalted butter, cut into pieces
- 2/3 cup sugar
- 1 ½ cups raw polenta
- 2/3 cup all-purpose flour
- Grated zest of 4 Meyer lemons
- Pinch of salt
- 2 large eggs
- In a food processor, combine the polenta, butter, sugar, flour, and salt and process until the mixture resembles a coarse meal.
- Add the zest and eggs and process very briefly, just until the dough bunches up together.
- Transfer to a bowl, cover, and refrigerate for an hour (or longer).
- Preheat oven to 375º F and line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
- Form the dough into small balls, about 1-inch in diameter, and place on the prepared baking sheet about 2 inches apart. Bake in preheated oven for about 15 minutes until the edges are golden brown.
- Slide the parchment, cookies and all, onto a rack to cool.