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Polenta Crostini Bites with Caramelized Porcini Mushroom Cicchetti

  • Author: Roz Corieri Page | La Bella Vita Cucina

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Ingredients

For the polenta

  • 1 cup heavy cream
  • 1 cup chicken stock
  • 1 tsp. finely ground sea salt
  • 1 cup polenta
  • 12 cups freshly grated Italian Fontina cheese, plus more to pass around to guests
  • 12 cups freshly grated Parmesan, plus more for garnish and to pass around to guests

For the mushrooms

  • 3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1/2 pound porcini mushrooms, diced
  • Finely ground sea salt
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • 2 Tbsp. unsalted butter
  • 1 Tbsp. freshly minced garlic
  • 1 tsp. finely chopped fresh thyme leaves
  • 2 Tbsp. freshly-squeezed lemon juice
  • 3/4 cup dry white wine
  • 2 Tbsp. finely chopped Italian parsley leaves
  • 1 long, thin loaf of Italian or French bread, sliced thin, toasted, drizzled with olive oil and rubbed with fresh garlic

Instructions

Cook the polenta

  1. In a medium, heavy pot over high heat bring the cream, stock, and sea salt to a boil.
  2. Add the polenta gradually, whisking constantly.
  3. When the mixture thickens, switch to a wooden spoon and adjust the heat to maintain a bare simmer.
  4. Cook, stirring often, until thick, smooth, and creamy, about 15 minutes.
  5. Stir in the Fontina and Parmesan cheeses.
  6. Keep the polenta warm over low heat, stirring occasionally.
  7. If the polenta gets dry as it sits, stir in about 1/4 cup of cream at a time, until it reaches your preference of wetness/dryness.

Saute the mushrooms

  1. In a medium skillet over high heat, heat the olive oil.
  2. When the oil is hot, place the mushrooms in a single layer, and do not stir!
  3. Cook the mushrooms to a sizzling point until they have caramelized on the bottom, about 2 – 3 minutes.
  4. When the bottoms are caramelized, toss them once and season with salt and pepper, to taste. Continue to cook without stirring for about 5 minutes.
  5. Season mushrooms with salt and pepper.
  6. Add the butter and cook until it begins to brown.
  7. Then add the garlic.
  8. Continue to cook until the garlic begins to brown, do not burn the garlic.
  9. Add the thyme and cook for about 10 seconds more.
  10. Add the lemon juice and cook until it evaporates.
  11. Add the wine, and simmer until the mushrooms are glazed with the sauce.
  12. Add the parsley.
  13. Then stir and remove the pan from the heat.
  14. Place about 1 tablespoon of warm polenta on each little slice of toasted bread (crostini).
  15. Place about 1/2 teaspoon of the mushroom on top of the polenta.
  16. Garnish with grated Parmesan and minced Italian parsley.
  17. Serve immediately.