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Recipes

Wild Mushroom and Herb Polenta

Sarah West

A quintessential fall recipe, pairing earthy wild mushrooms with the zesty brightness of fresh herbs, most of which will hang on until the first frost. Built like a pizza, this dish is easy to assemble and brings a touch of effortless elegance to the weeknight table. Serve with a salad of baby lettuces and frisee tossed in a light vinaigrette. 

Serves 2

Ingredients

4 Tablespoons olive oil
4 Cups wild mushrooms (chanterelles, porcini, hedgehog, etc.), brushed clean, large ones halved or even quartered
2 Garlic cloves, crushed
1 Tablespoon chopped fresh tarragon
1 Tablespoon chopped fresh thyme
1 Tablespoon truffle oil (optional - could also used truffle salt from Springwater Farm in place of regular salt)
Salt and black pepper
2 1/2 Cups stock (chicken or vegetable)
1/2 Cup polenta
3 oz Parmesan, grated
2 1/2 Tablespoons butter
1 Teaspoon finely chopped fresh rosemary
1 Tablespoon chopped chervil (sub parsley if unavailable)
4 oz soft-ripened cheese (such as Fraga Farm camembert or Willamette Valley Cheese brie), cut into thin slices

1. Heat half of the olive oil in a large frying pan over medium-high heat. Once hot, add half of the mushrooms and fry just until cooked, 5-10 minutes; try not to move them much so you get golden-brown patches on their surface. Remove from the pan and repeat with the rest of the mushrooms and oil. Off the heat, return all the mushrooms to the pan and add the garlic, tarragon, thyme, truffle oil, and some salt and pepper. Keep warm.

2. Bring the stock to boil in a saucepan. Slowly stir in the polenta, then reduce the heat to the minimum 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 polenta 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).

3.  Preheat the broiler. When the polenta is ready, stir in the Parmesan, butter, rosemary and half the chervil. Season with salt and pepper. Spread the polenta over a heatproof dish and top with the soft-ripened cheese slices. 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 chervil.


Based on a recipe from Plenty by Yotam Ottolenghi.