Tuesday, January 21, 2014

Roasted mushrooms over goat cheese polenta

If you want to talk about hearty, earthy flavors that go well with each other and sing a song of food and wine with Pinot Noir, that's this dish.  Almost too simple to require anything as fancy as a recipe, it went together like this:

Pop the stems out of a lot of white or brown domestic mushrooms and cut them in half.  Reserve the stems and simmer them in 4 cups lightly salted water for 15-30 minutes; strain, discard the stems and reserve the broth.  Meanwhile, soak about 1/2 ounce dried porcini mushrooms in 1 cup hot water. When they're reconstituted, strain the soaking liquid into the reserved mushroom broth.

Toss the halved mushroom caps and the porcini in a big bowl with salt, pepper, olive oil and a few smashed garlic cloves.  Sweat them in a black-iron skillet for a few moments until the mushrooms soften a bit, then put the skillet with its cargo into a preheated 400F oven for 15 minutes, stirring occasionally.

Meanwhile, fashion the polenta, using the following "cheat" that cuts time and stirring to a fraction without any real loss in quality:  Stir 1/2 cup yellow cornmeal and 1/2 teaspoon salt into 2 cups cold water (I used the mushroom broth instead). Put over high heat and cook, stirring often, until it thickens; when it starts to bubble like a lava flow, shift it to very low heat and continue stirring for a few moments until it is very smooth. Stir in 1/4 cup mild goat cheese, check seasoning, and put it into a serving bowl.

Top with the roasted mushrooms and uncork a Pinot!