Polenta is one of those dishes that's so versatile because you can make it along with different dishes and you can switch up the texture every time. You can make it creamy, you can bake it, you can fry it, even grill it! I started playing with this recipe in my head and originally pictured it as an entree... surely enough, things never turn out the way you image so here's a recipe for an appetizer, or make them bite size and you've got yourself some hors d'eouvres!
Don't be fooled... these polenta 'cakes' are not sweet! For this recipe I used this instant polenta, which literally took 5 minutes to make. Once you spread it out in a pan and it cools and solidifies, you can really cut it into whatever shape you like and top it with whatever toppings you prefer! If you read my blog you know I love mushrooms, so, shocker - I went with a mushroom sauce topped with fontina cheese.
If you want to create a healthier version, you can opt out of pan-frying and just bake it in the over, you will still get a golden color, just not as much of a crust!
POLENTA CAKE INGREDIENTS:
1 cup instant polenta
4 cups of water
1/2 cup of fontina cheese, grated or cubed
2 tbs olive oil
8 oz. mushrooms
1 tbs of thyme, chopped
1 tbs rosemary, chopped
2 garlic cloves
1/4 cup white wine
1/4 cup cream
2 tbs tomato paste
Bring water to a boil in a saucepan. Slowly add polenta and whisk quickly until the polenta has formed into a creamy texture. Turn the heat off and set aside.
Line a baking pan with parchment paper and evenly spread polenta with the cubed fontina (mixed in) on top. Refrigerate polenta for one hour.
Once polenta has solidified, take a mold, and cut the polenta into disks (or whatever shape you like).
While polenta is cooling, begin the mushroom sauce. Heat olive oil in a pan and saute the garlic, shallot, thyme and rosemary. Add mushrooms and saute for another minute. Add the wine and tomato paste and stir. Once evaporated add the cream and reduce.
Heat a pan with 2 tablespoons of olive oil and one tablespoon of butter. Once sizzling, add the polenta cakes to the pan and lightly fry until they are golden on both sides. Remove and set on a paper towel.
Top each polenta cake with the mushrooms and some additional grated fontina cheese.