These are an easy make ahead side dish that can be served multiple ways.
The basic recipe:
Bring 4 Cups of water and a pinch of salt to a boil.
Gradually wisk in 1 Cup corn grits (polenta)
Reduce heat to simmer. Stir in 1 Tablespoon of olive oil.
Simmer for at least 5 minutes, stirring frequently.
It will still be pretty loose.
Carefully ladle into the cups of a standard muffin tin.
Let cool and then refrigerate for a couple of hours.
(1) Peppered and Crispy To make crispy polenta cakes, preheat oven to 375. Oil a baking sheet. Pop the chilled polenta cakes out of the muffin tin. Arrange them on the cookie sheet. Lightly spritz with oil. Sprinkle with fresh ground black pepper (and an additional pinch of salt if desired). Bake for 30-40 minutes until the cakes crisp up.
(2) Soft and Sweet These can also be served cold soft and sweet. I like to leave the filled muffin tin in the refrigerator overnight, then pop the cold cakes out into a little bowl and drizzle with maple syrup to eat with breakfast. Fair disclosure: neither my spouse nor my son likes them served cold. Both prefer the cakes either warmed briefly in the microwave to be served soft or crisped in the oven as described in variation (1) above.