Francois Dionot uses less cornmeal than the usual cornmeal-to-liquid ratio to ensure that the polenta is creamy -- almost running off the spoon -- rather than sticky or heavy. He serves this dish as a first course; it also can be a side dish.
The mushrooms can be roasted up to one day ahead and spread with the parsley paste. Cover and refrigerate the mushrooms, then bake at 400 degrees for 8 to 10 minutes or until heated through. If serving with seafood, substitute clam juice for the chicken stock.
Servings: 6 - 8
- 1 cup chopped flat-leaf parsley
- 4 cloves garlic, chopped
- 1 medium shallot, chopped (about 2 tablespoons)
- 1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
- Freshly ground black pepper
- 3 1/2 cups chicken stock (may substitute low-sodium chicken broth) or water
- 1 cup cornmeal (preferably stone-ground)
- 2 to 4 tablespoons unsalted butter
- 1/2 cup grated Gruyère, or Parmesan cheese, (about 2 ounces)
- 3 large or 4 medium portobello mushrooms, stemmed
Preheat the oven to 400 degrees.
In a small bowl, make a paste of the parsley, garlic, shallot and olive oil. Add salt and pepper to taste. Set aside.
In a large pot over high heat, bring the chicken stock or water to a boil and slowly add the cornmeal, whisking to prevent lumps. Season with salt and pepper to taste, reduce the heat to medium-low so the polenta bubbles but does not spatter. Cook until it thickens, about 30 minutes, stirring often to prevent sticking. Add the butter and cheese and mix well.
Meanwhile, place the mushrooms, gill sides up, on a rimmed baking sheet. Roast large mushrooms for 10 minutes or medium mushrooms for 8 minutes. Pour off the juice. Cut the mushrooms into quarters and spread the parsley paste on the gill sides. Bake for 2 to 3 minutes until heated through.
Transfer the polenta to a large serving dish or individual plates and spoon the mushroom quarters on top. Serve hot.
Adapted from Francois Dionot of L'Academie de Cuisine.
Tested by Marcia Kramer.
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