This would normally strike me as a dinner fit for a chilly night in November, but I love polenta in any form, any time of the year. I don’t think mere words could describe the amazing flavor of this dish, let alone the delicious aroma it creates, but I urge you to taste it for yourselves. You can always double the polenta batch to make fried polenta with the leftovers. When the polenta has cooked, pour half into a pan and allow to firm up in the fridge. It is very good cut into squares or triangles, dusted with flour and fried in a skillet with a little oil and/or butter until it is golden brown on each side. Top with anything from maple syrup to shredded parmesan. Continue with the recipe with the other half.
adapted from: Plenty
4 tablespoons olive oil
4 cups mixed mushrooms, halved, large ones quartered
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 tablespoon chopped tarragon
1 tablespoon chopped thyme
1 tablespoon white truffle oil
salt & black pepper
2 ¼ cups vegetable stock
½ cup polenta (instant of traditional)
2 oz Parmigiano Reggiano, grated
2 ½ tablespoons butter
1 tsp finely chopped rosemary
1 tablespoon chopped chervil or parsley
3-4 oz Taleggio (rind removed) sliced*
Heat half the olive oil in a large frying pan over medium-high heat. Once hot, add half of the mushrooms and fry for a few minutes, or until just cooked; try not to move them much so you get golden brown patches on their surface. Remove from the pan, repeat with the other half of the mushrooms and oil. Off the heat, return all of the mushrooms to the pan and add the garlic, tarragon, thyme, truffle oil and some salt and pepper. Keep warm.
Bring the stock to boil in a saucepan. Slowly stir in the polenta, then reduce the heat to low and cook, stirring constantly with a wooden spoon. The polenta is ready when it leaves the sides of the pan but is still runny. If you are using instant polenta, this shouldn’t take more than 5 minutes; with traditional it could take up to 50 minutes (if it seems to dry out, add some more stock or water but just enough to keep it at a thick porridge consistency).
Preheat the broiler. When the polenta is ready, stir in the Parmesan, butter, rosemary and half of the parsley. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Spread the polenta over a heatproof dish and top with the Taleggio. Place under the broiler until the cheese bubbles. Remove, top with the mushrooms and their juices, and return to the broiler for a minute to warm up. Serve hot, garnished with the remaining parsley.
* Taleggio hails from Italy’s Lombardy region. This rich, and semi-soft cheese is made from whole cow’s milk. It’s flavor can range from mild to pungent, depending on it’s age. Taleggio is sold in flat blocks or cylinders and is covered either with a wax coating or a thin mold. It is also excellent with salad greens or served with fruit.