Mushroom and herb polenta

Mushroom and herb polenta from "Plenty" by Yoyam

Mushroom and herb polenta from "Plenty" by Yoyam Ottolenghi (Chronicle Books, $35). (Credit: Jonathan Lovekin, 2010)

This recipe, from "Plenty" by Yotam Ottolenghi (Chronicle, $35), calls for four different fresh herbs. Feel free to substitute parsley for the tarragon and/or chervil.

MUSHROOM AND HERB POLENTA

4 tablespoons olive oil, divided

4 cups mixed mushrooms, very large ones halved, divided

2 cloves garlic, crushed

1 tablespoon chopped tarragon

1 tablespoon chopped thyme

1 tablespoon truffle oil (optional)

Salt and black pepper

21/4 cups vegetable or chicken broth

11/2 cup polenta (instant or traditional)

3 ounces Parmesan, grated

21/2 tablespoons butter

1 teaspoon finely chopped rosemary

1 tablespoon chopped chervil

4 ounces Taleggio cheese, rind removed and cut into 3/8-inch slices (or substitute

Fontina, Gruyère or Emmenthaler)

1. 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 the surface. Remove from the pan, and repeat with the rest of the mushrooms and oil. Turn off the heat, return all the mushrooms to the pan and add the garlic, tarragon, thyme, truffle oil and some salt and pepper. Keep warm.

2. Bring the stock to a boil in a saucepan. Slowly stir in the polenta, then 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. If you are using instant polenta, this shouldn't take more than 5 minutes; with traditional polenta, it could take up to 50 minutes (if it seems to dry out, add more stock or water but just enough to keep it at a thick, porridge consistency).

3. Preheat the broiler. When the polenta is ready, 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 broiler until the cheese bubbles. Remove, top with the mushrooms and their juices, and return to the broiler for a minute to warm. Serve hot, garnished with remaining chervil. Makes 2 servings.

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