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Crostini de Polenta ai Funghi

February 29, 2012

Mushroom Polenta

~  Katy ~

Trying new recipes is always risky, and most always fun.  If you hit on a winner, you use that recipe over and over, and your guests just love it.  If you hit on a loser, there is always a good story to go with it.  Check out this charming (and funny) book for some such stories.  It makes a great host/ess gift, provided your host/ess has a great sense of humor.  If you read just one of the short stories during the party, you’ll be surprised by how many stories it evokes.  This particular recipe calls for no story, as it was a winner!  When I was hosting a summer party, these appetizers were a huge hit.  Why?  Mushrooms.  The subtle flavors of the mixed mushrooms were perfection with the polenta and parmesan.  Next time I’ll add some fresh rosemary to the polenta.  

Polenta Mushroom

Crostini de Polenta ai Funghi
1 recipe Fast Polenta (recipe follows)
1.5 pounds assorted full-flavored mushrooms such as shiitake, cremini, Portobello, porcini, chanterelles, etc.

4 Tablespoons unsalted butter
3 large garlic cloves, peeled and finely chopped
About ¼ teaspoon hot red pepper flakes, or to taste
5 Tablespoons chopped Italian parsley
Salt and freshly ground pepper
Extra-virgin olive oil for polenta
Freshly grated, imported Parmesan cheese
Prepare the polenta.  Pour into a lightly oiled 1.5 quart loaf pan.  Let cool, then refrigerate, covered with plastic wrap, until firm.  Wipe the mushrooms clean with damp paper towels.  Trim off any hard, fibrous stems.  Cut the mushrooms into small pieces.  Place the butter, garlic and hot red pepper flakes in a large sauté pan.  Turn the heat to medium-high and when the butter melts, add all the mushrooms and parsley.  Stir well.  Cook, uncovered, until the mushrooms are tender and almost all excess moisture evaporates.

Meanwhile, unmold the polenta and cut into 16 ½-inch slices. Cut each slice into 2 rectangles and trim edges.  Brush polenta on both sides with olive oil.  Grill on both sides until crusty and marked by the grill, about 4-5 minutes per side.  Top each slice of polenta with a big spoonful of mushrooms and generously sprinkle with Parmesan.

Fast Polenta
6.5 cups water
2 teaspoons salt
1 13-ounce box (2 cups) instant polenta
Bring the water to a boil and add salt.  Quickly add the polenta in steady stream, stirring continuously with a wooden spoon.  Reduce heat to mediumand continue stirring for 5 minutes, or until the polenta is thick, soft, and smooth.
Pour polenta into a moistened 1.5 quart loaf pan or onto a lightly oiled 10.5 X 15.5 inch baking sheet (this is my preferred method when making crostini or stacks).  Smooth the top with a wet spatula.  Let col.  If making ahead, cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate for up to 24 hours.  Proceed as directed in recipes calling for polenta.

2 Comments leave one →
  1. March 1, 2012 10:51 am

    Toadstools on toast? Couldn’t they just say so?

  2. March 24, 2012 9:56 am

    These remind me of our camping trip in Piedmonte last summer. All the same flavours. Wonderful!

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