I have observed that cool people occasionally have recipes on their blogs. I want to be cool. Here is a recipe. I made it up.
1 ½ cups of corn meal
½ lb white mushrooms per serving
Some coarsely chopped onion
Some coarsely chopped garlic cloves
Some balsamic vinegar
Some goat cheese
Some delicious herbs that you enjoy (fresh)
I know these amounts are vague; but the ratios are really about personal taste. I don’t presume to know how into balsamic vinegar you are.
Mkay. The thing about this recipe is, the two main parts A) take forever, and B) have a nice long counter life. Therefore, you can make them one at a time in whichever order you wish, or, you can try to multitask and make both simultaneously. You can’t lose.
Part 1: Polenta
Apply some sort of lubricant to a 9 x 13” casserole dish.
Bring 5 cups of water to a boil in a stockpot. Add, I don’t know, maybe 2 tsp salt? I never measure and also never add enough salt to my polenta.
Here is the hard part. Somehow, slowly sprinkle the cornmeal into the boiling water while stirring constantly. I have tried a whisk, a wooden spoon, and an electric mixer. I have tried putting the corn meal in a sifter and stirring with the other hand. None of these scenarios could be labelled a success. You are going to burn yourself on this step. Just come to terms with it.
Turn the heat down and keep stirring until it is smooth. Pour it into the casserole dish and smooth the top with a spatula.
It doesn’t take long at all for the polenta to set up. Poke it for fun and also to check it. Cut it into squares, or if you are feeling fancy, use a biscuit cutter to make cute little circles.
Brown each side of the polenta. This takes FOR-E-VER!! I recommend using a griddle: a buttery, buttery griddle. Then you can do a bunch at a time. The sexy toasty corn smell when they start to brown is totally worth the INSANE AMOUNT OF TIME THIS STEP REQUIRES.
Part 2: Delicious Mushroom Stuff
Clean and do whatever you do to mushrooms. Stem them, quarter them, slice them, leave them whole: I authentically don’t care. Sauté them over medium heat in a fat of your choice. I like a nice blend of butter and olive oil.
Bout ten minutes in, add the onion and garlic. This is so they will still have texture and structure at the end.
After a bit (I don’t know how long because I don’t know how hot your stove is and how you cut up your mushrooms) the mushrooms will start emitting their mushroomy juices. Add more butter or olive oil, and a decent amount of balsamic vinegar. The sauce consists of the mushroomy juices, butter, and balsamic vinegar, so consider that. Also, if your heat is too high, some of the balsamic vinegar will evaporate instantly into your face and make your eyes all watery and tingly.
Reduce the liquid until it is a little thicker. You can also use flour or cornstarch if you’re into that.
Now to plate this business.
Put down a piece of sexy toasty polenta. Ladle the mushrooms, onions, garlic, and sauce over. Now do you see why I was vague about the amounts? Mushroom stuff to polenta ratio.
Now top with big glorious chunks of goat cheese and your favorite fresh herb, coarsely chopped (or hand torn, if you are that variety of d-bag). My first choice is basil; but thyme is also quite nice.
OR, if you are feeling ambitious, fry whole sage leaves in half an inch of canola oil for 10-20 seconds. Really no more than 20 seconds. They burn. Your mother in law will not be impressed by your burned sage leaves. She thinks you’re strange enough as it is. Pull them out with chopsticks and drain them on a paper towel. Arrange artfully atop.
Because of its low protein content, this is really more of a side dish. Perhaps you could main dish it up by putting the whole situation on a bed of arugula and topping it with a nicely-cooked cut of your favorite mammal or fowl. (Favorite EDIBLE mammal or fowl. This dish is good; but it isn’t pet-butcherin’ good.)
Or, God forbid, tofu.
Nom nom nom.