The weekend is when we treat ourselves from time to time and so we might buy some meat or something a little special and this weekend it was to make one of Yotam Ottolenghi’s recipes from his amazing book Plenty, which is a vegetarian cookbook in which every recipe just looks so good!

So I cooked a mushroom and polenta dish which is Elliott’s favourite dish ever 🙂 This recipe also introduced me to polenta which I’m very grateful for because it’s now one of my favourite ingredients; it’s so very versatile… you can even make cakes with it and they can be gluten free! So many good things!

Mushrooms are another ingredient that we are fortunate to have in abundance here in Guernsey so always easy to find locally grown mushrooms… even Waitrose sells them!

Mushroom and herb polenta

Mushroom and Herb Polenta

serves 2

4 tablespoons olive oil
500g mushrooms (mixed or simple, see what you can get hold of!), very large ones halved
2 garlic cloves, crushed
1 tablespoon chopped tarragon
1 tablespoon chopped thyme
1 tablespoon truffle oil
Salt and black pepper
500ml vegetable stock
80g polenta (instant or traditional, i’ve only used instant and it’s very quick and easy)
80g Parmesan, grated (I always use 60g because that’s the size of a packet at the shop and it works fine!
30g butter
1 teaspoon finely chopped rosemary
1 tablespoon chopped chervil
100g Taleggio (rind removed), cut into 1/3cm slices

(note: I have made this many times without all the herbs, for me the one that you can’t make it without it the rosemary, for the others you can always double up on just the thyme or tarragon and if you have the rosemary if you haven’t any chervil don’t worry)

– 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, 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. Set aside and keep warm.

– Bring the stock to the boil in a saucepan. Add the polenta, stirring continuously throughout. 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, this takes about 5 minutes with instant polenta

– When the polenta is done, 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 Taleggio. Place under a hot grill until the cheese bubbles. Remove and  top with the mushrooms and their juices.

Have a go at this especially if you haven’t tried polenta before!! And take a look at Yotam Ottolenghi,  I think he’s my favourite chef ever and I really want to visit one of his restaurants in London, he (and his partner) have just got a new book out called Jerusalem which has recipes that combine both the jewish and muslim food of the area… sounds amazing! It’s on my wish list!


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