Wednesday, April 8, 2009

Parmigiano Reggiano Polenta Crisps with Blue Oyster and Shitake Mushrooms

On Monday, I started the story of last weekend’s dinner party. The chilled soup course was followed by roasted sockeye salmon with nasturtium jalapeƱo aioli and a salad of beets, beet greens, and carrots with a horseradish-orange vinaigrette. Also served with the salmon was this polenta with sauteed mushrooms. This dish was inspired by one seen in the December 2007 issue of Bon Appetit. As seen in the magazine, it was served in small squares with the mushroom ragout placed on top of each piece of polenta. Since seeing this over a year ago, I kept it in mind for a future party because it could be largely prepared in advance and would be easy to serve in pre-made portions. I made a few changes to the recipe in hopes of making the dish a bit lighter and more spring-like.

The original mushroom ragout included creme fraiche and grated Comte cheese. I opted to make the mushrooms dairy-free and flavor them with green garlic, shallots, and truffle salt instead. I used local blue oyster and shitake mushrooms. One day early, I made the polenta with all milk for the liquid and a half cup of grated parmigiano reggiano stirred in at the end of the cooking time, and I let it set up overnight in the refrigerator. The day of the party, I cut the polenta squares and cooked them in butter and olive oil in a non-stick skillet for a few minutes on each side. Once crispy on top and bottom, they were transferred to paper towels to drain. Then, they were kept warm in the oven until needed. When the salmon was ready to be served, I placed some mushroom mixture on top of each polenta square and sprinkled the truffle salt on top.

Crispy surfaces on the polenta squares gave way to tender middles full of parmigiano reggiano flavor. That richness carried the mushrooms nicely, and the truffle salt was a subtle, additional boost to the topping. I’m sure the creamier version with cheese in the mushroom ragout would also be delicious, but this spring version worked well for our meal.


20 comments:

  1. Polenta and mushrooms are an ideal pair. I often make spoonable polenta, and top it with mushrooms sauteed in wine or mixed in a thick tomato sauce. Yum!

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  2. They are a great pair, 'shrooms and polenta. Polenta's so versatile too. It makes a great vessel for other foods.

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  3. This looks delicious! I made something similar before, but didn't fry my polenta squares after cutting them. Such a great bonus! Just the thought of truffle salt has my mouth watering. Thanks for sharing!

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  4. I am such a polenta lover, these look crazy-good!

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  5. That just looks so yummy - the colors jump out. I am a sucker for anything with mushrooms.

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  6. MMMMMM....Lisa!! this is very creative food!! love it!!
    Beautiful pictures ass always!!

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  7. Polenta is one of my very favorite things - especially cooked in this way. You got terrific color on it! The mushrooms just send it over the top - in a wonderful way!

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  8. I had been debating how to write up my Easter dinner party, as it will have multiple courses, and you just gave me the best plan! A post a day for the next week... so much more manageable!
    ps - I dearly wish my boyfriend would eat mushrooms, as the polenta looks delicious with them!

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  9. How beautifully caramelized and tender your polenta looks! What a special send-off.

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  10. WOOOOOOOW!!!!! my eyes are literally popping out of their sockets. I have quite a love for anything made with corn,esp if their grainy and crunchy and gritty. and with mushrooms! what a perfect combo!

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  11. These polenta squares look so perfect! From your description, they might not need any more creaminess from cheese added to the mushrooms - I think your version is a lovely balance of texture already!

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  12. Oh yum! A friend was just asking me about polenta -- she said it got kind of gelatinous when it hit the plate. I've had that happen before too -- all the moisture, I guess. But this polenta has perfect posture -- perhaps if they're cooked to crispiness, that helps.

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  13. Looks delicious - what lovely pictures too!

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  14. That polenta looks really good! Every time I try to fry polenta it melts and gets messy.

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  15. I've been wanting to try cooking polenta - this recipe looks great! I love shitake mushrooms

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  16. What a cook recipe ! I think we'll try this, we love mushrooms!

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  17. Lisa,
    This looks fantastic!
    I am so into polenta lately.
    Great presentation!

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  18. This looks divine!!!
    The mushrooms are beautifully cooked, i bet you can eat this with your hands or a spoon!

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  19. Girl, you are killing me. We had the Polenta for breakfast with a fried egg. We just finished lunch and you guessed it, Polenta squares with mushroom ragout and heirloom tomatoes. I probably could have it again for dinner! You rock! ps, I changed your adaptation a bit, using dried wild mushrooms and a rugged white cheddar cheese and the creme fraiche. It was also delish. Thanks again. pps, Invite me to one of your dinner parties!

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