This recipe is from the incomparable Yotam Ottolenghi and his book “Jerusalem” is one of my 5 “desert island” recipe books.
So easy and with such bold, earthy flavors. All that needs to be served with this is a simple salad.
Serves 2 (but can easily be augmented)
4 tbsp olive oil
¾ lb mixed mushrooms, very large ones halved
2 garlic cloves, crushed
1 tbsp chopped fresh tarragon
1 tbsp chopped fresh thyme
1 tbsp truffle oil
1 pint ( 16 fl oz) vegetable or chicken stock
3 oz polenta (instant or traditional)
3 oz Parmesan, grated
2 – 3 tbsp butter
1 tsp finely chopped rosemary
1 tbsp chopped chervil
4 oz Taleggio cheese (rind removed), cut into 1/4” slices
salt and black pepper
* There are two types of polenta meal (or cornmeal) available – a quick or instant variety and the traditional, slow-cooking one. For most purposes the quick polenta is good enough. Either one can be used for this dish.
Heat up half the olive oil in a large frying pan. 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. Keep warm.
Bring the stock to the 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 some more stock or water but just enough to keep it at a thick porridge consistency).
Preheat the grill (broiler) to high. 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 the grill until the cheese bubbles. Remove, top with the mushrooms and their juices, and return to the grill for a minute to warm up. Serve hot, garnished with the remaining chervil.