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Crispy Polenta Cakes With Wild Mushrooms Ragout


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  • 6 cups water
  • Salt to taste
  • 1 cup coarse polenta
  • 1/2 cup grated Parmigiano Reggiano cheese
  • 4 tablespoons unsalted butter at room temperature
  • Freshly-ground black pepper to taste
  • 2 tablespoons chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley
  • 2 garlic cloves minced
  • 2 teaspoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 pound mixed fresh wild mushrooms trimmed, sliced
  • 3 cups chicken stock
  • 1/2 cup heavy cream
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour for dusting polenta
  • 1 cup olive oil for frying


Servings 6


Step 1

Bring 6 cups of water and 1 teaspoon salt to a boil. Lower the heat to medium and slowly add the cornmeal in a shower, whisking constantly until the mixture thickens, 3 to 5 minutes.

Change to a wooden spoon and continue to simmer, stirring occasionally, until the spoon stands in the polenta, 15 to 25 minutes. Add the Parmigiano and 2 tablespoons of the butter and mix well. Season with salt and pepper.

Immediately spread the polenta in a buttered 9- by 9-inch pan. Smooth the top with a rubber spatula and refrigerate.

Combine the parsley and garlic and chop together until very fine.

In a large skillet, melt the remaining 2 tablespoons butter with the extra virgin olive oil over high heat. Add the wild mushrooms and cook, stirring occasionally, until golden and the mushrooms and liquid has evaporated, 7 to 10 minutes. Remove the mushrooms and set aside.

Add the chicken stock, cream, garlic, and parsley to the pan and simmer to reduce by half, 6 to 8 minutes. Season with salt and pepper.

Score the polenta into 3- by 4 1/2-inch squares. Halve each square diagonally to make 2 triangles. Remove from the pan and toss the polenta triangles carefully in flour to dust them lightly.

Heat 1/2-inch of olive oil until a tiny piece of polenta turns golden on contact, 375 degrees. Add a few of the polenta triangles and cook, turning occasionally, until golden on both sides. Drain on paper towels.

To serve, place 2 hot polenta triangles on each plate. Warm the mushroom ragout and spoon over the polenta. Serve immediately.

This recipe yields 6 servings.

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