I want waffles… all the time. In my dreams, I replace all of the bread in my life with warm waffles. Waffles with peanut butter and jelly. Waffles with ham and cheese. Waffles with ice cream and hot fudge.
Perhaps this is just a phase… equal to my cargo pants and cropped jean jacket phase.
Actually wait… I still maintain that I looked great in those cargo pants. I wish someone would have told me not to actually carry cargo in my pockets though. No one needs the bulk of a lady wallet and lipstick added to their thighs. Fashion pockets, Joy. Fashion pockets.
So… waffles! Consider them delicious, freshly-made bread… and act accordingly. Prosciutto, spinach, and tart apples slices are a wonderful place to start: open-face sandwich style.
Let’s start with polenta.
It’s as good a place as any to start.
Polenta is coarsely ground cornmeal. You might call them grits… same thing!
Polenta gets cooked up. Butter is whisked in.
What could go wrong here? Exactly nothing.
Whisking cold butter into warm polenta is 100% satisfying.
Creamy and smooth.
Next, cold milk is added to the buttered polenta.
… and this is totally going to turn into waffles. I promise!
Now… about the dry ingredients.
These are gluten-free waffles, so I used an all-purpose gluten-free flour mix.
My absolutely favorite gluten-free flour mix is Cup4Cup.
Just about everything is made better with cheese and fresh herbs.
In this case, we’re talking Gruyere and coarsely chopped parsley.
You might also consider cheddar cheese and chives… that would be a great move!
Creamy polenta mixed with gluten-free flour and spices.
After about a minute of combining the wet and dry ingredients, the mixture thickens substantially.
Fold in the cheese and herbs, and you’ll have a batter so thick it dollops instead of pours.
This will create the most wonderful soft, but crisp waffles.
Where are you going with your savory waffles?
For these lunch waffles I chose mustard, thin apple slices, and prosciutto.
I don’t aim to coat my entire waffle pan with batter. I have a large square waffle iron and dollop about 1/4 cup of batter into each waffle section. Pressed down… the waffles bake up into round-ish individual waffles.
These waffle are the perfect open-face sandwich vehicle. The outside is golden and crisp. The inside of the waffle is just melting with creamy polenta and cheese goodness. It’s the best of both worlds. Crisp and Cream.
This recipe comes from Lena Kwak of The French Laundry. We spent an afternoon cooking together in the French Laundry test kitchen. She made a variation of these waffles… I stumbled through making a Gluten-free Quiche. There’s an awesome video aallll about it! Lena developed the gluten-free flour Cup4Cup that I used in these waffles. It’s my absolute favorite and now the flour is a staple in my kitchen pantry.
If you’re not gluten-free, you should try these sexy Cornmeal Waffles… also completely delicious.
You don’t have a waffle iron? I understand. Will this batter work to fry up pancakes? Well… the batter is very thick and studded with lots of cheese. While it is an ultra lovely waffle batter, I don’t find this to be the ideal pancake situation. I’ll be in the kitchen making gluten-free pancakes just for you… soon!
Gluten-free Waffles with Cornmeal and Gruyere
makes about 12 small waffles
recipe adapted from Lena Kwak, The French Laundry
1 cup water
1/2 cup dried polenta or grits
1/2 cup unsalted butter, cut into large cubes
1 cup milk
1 cup Cup4Cup all-purpose gluten-free flour
3/4 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon coarse ground black pepper
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
pinch of cayenne pepper
1 large egg
3/4 cup grated gruyere cheese
3 tablespoons chopped parsley or chives
Bring water to a boil in a small saucepan. Add polenta and cook over medium heat for 1-2 minutes. Remove from heat and add butter cubes. Stir until butter is melted. Add cold milk and set aside.
In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, salt, pepper, baking powder, garlic powder, and cayenne.
Pour the cooled polenta mixture over the dry ingredients. Add egg and whisk until the mixture is thoroughly incorporated. Add the cheese and herbs. Fold to combine. Waffle batter will be thick. That’s perfect.
Cook waffles according to waffle machine instructions. I dolloped about 1/4 cup of batter into each section of my large waffle iron. Serve warm with fried egg and prosciutto.
Waffles can also be wrapped individually, frozen, thawed slightly, and reheated in a toaster for quick lunch or breakfast situations.