Monday, April 5, 2010

Polenta Cakes with Wild Mushroom Saute

My husband and I were in the grocery store on Saturday, with seemingly everyone else in town, shopping for Easter dinner. I'm a bit of a control freak, except with food. I just like to cook when I feel like it and with whatever strikes my fancy. So it was with Easter dinner.

We saw some lovely looking asparagus and wild mushrooms, so that went in the cart. My husband hit the butcher counter and walked away with a well-marbled bone-in prime rib roast. As we were strolling along, I thought "beef, asparagus, and ... polenta!"

I prepared the polenta in the morning (we stole some for breakfast), so it took about 10 minutes to cook the cakes and mushrooms at dinnertime.  You can cook the mushrooms first and put them in a bowl with a tent of foil to keep them warm.  Or if you are a multi-tasker, you can cook both of them at the same time in two skillets on the stove.

When both are ready, put the polenta cakes on a plate and top with mushrooms.

Polenta Cakes

2 cups Bob's Red Mill coarse-ground cornmeal (aka grits also known as polenta)
6 cups liquid (water, milk, and/or broth -- I used 1/2 milk and 1/2 chicken broth)
1 tsp. salt
1/2 cup Parmesan cheese
2 tbs. butter

Small brownie pan or casserole dish lined with foil that been sprayed with non-stick spray

Flour for dusting.

Bring liquid to a boil and slowly whisk in the cornmeal. Turn down to a very low simmer and cook for 30 minutes until polenta/grits are thick. (Note: We cooked ours for 30 minutes, but it seemed ready at around 15 minutes.  I'm not a polenta expert by any means, but it really did seem the polenta could be eaten at te 15 minute stage if you wanted to eat it "loose").

When polenta is ready, stir in butter and Parmesan cheese.

Pour polenta into foil-lined pan and put in the fridge to set.

When ready to cook, cut polenta in shape of your choice or use a cookie cutter.  Dust with flour on each side.

Heat a skillet over medium heat.  When hot, add a little olive oil and butter.  Cook each side 3-5 minutes until lightly browned on the outside and warmed through on the inside.

Wild Mushroom Saute
Wild mushrooms
Olive oil
1 shallot, minced
1 garlic, minced
1 scallion, minced
1/2 cup beef broth
Splash of balsamic vinegar
Salt and pepper

Heat skillet over medium high heat.  Add a tbs. or two of olive oil and the shallot and garlic.  Add the mushrooms and saute for a couple minutes.  Add beef broth and stir.  Let beef broth evaporate for the most part.  Add a splash of balsamic vinegar, salt and pepper to taste and scallions.


Sandy a la Mode said...

mmm i don't think i've ever had polenta cake before but it looks delicious!! thanks for sharing this recipe!

Joy said...

It looks like a sponge cake. It looks so good.

La Table De Nana said...

They are so pretty!

Federica said...

wow che buono!!!!!!!!!

Sippity Sup said...

Wow, that's quite an elegant presentation. GREG

Kathleen said...

This looks like a lovely spring dinner!

Trissa said...

I love mushrooms and asparagus - both sound fantastic with that polenta!