Author Notes: Alongside a nice salad, this polenta makes for a great mid-summer dinner, light but creamy and deliciously flavoured by the mushrooms and truffle butter.
Don't be put off by an ingredient list that looks prohibitively long but isn't, really. This is a very simple almost one-pot dish.
(The amount of liquid you need to achieve the best consistency and the amount of truffle butter neccesary to infuse the pot of polenta will vary depending on the corn meal and on the freshness of the truffle. Use your own instincts here! I used Nicoli organic coarse-ground polenta and a white truffle butter made by Caviar House.) - nogaga
- 2 sprigs thyme
- 2 sprigs rosemary
- 1 sprig sage
- 4 sprigs parsley
- 1 large or two small garlic cloves, smashed and peeled
- 1/2 teaspoon sea salt (truffle-infused salt if you've got it)
- 1/4 teaspoon coarsely crushed black peppercorns
- 1/4 teaspoon coarsely crushed tricolor peppercorns
- 3 cups water
- 3 cups whole milk
- 2 ears of corn, kernels removed (about 1 1/2 cup kernels)
- 1 1/2 cup polenta, preferably organic and coarsely ground
- 1 cup dry white wine
- 4 tablespoons truffle butter
- 2 cups thickly sliced fresh mushrooms, a mix of shiitake and porcini
- 1/2 cup mascarpone (and more for serving, if you wish)
- fresh baby spinach leaves for serving
- Place the thyme, rosemary, sage, parsley, garlic, salt and crushed peppercorns in a small muslin bag or large tea ball. Place in a medium-sized pot with the water and milk and heat for ten or fifteen minutes, till the liquid is well-steeped. You want to see steam rising but it should not reach a simmer.
- Remove the aromatics and pour the polenta into the liquid, now simmering, whisking it as it rains on the white pond. Make sure the corn meal isn't clumping, and continue regularly but occasionally mixing with a wooden spoon for the next 30 to 40 minutes on very low heat, until the mass has come together into something almost reminiscent of a dough.
- Meanwhile (yes, meanwhile....) very gently poach the mushrooms in the truffle butter, over very low heat. You want the thick slices of mushroom to remain velvet-like and pillowy while infusing in the truffle butter. Also, gently heat the corn kernels in the white wine till the kernels seem to be swollen with wine but remain crunchy.
- Don't worry if your pot begins to develop a thin corn crust on the bottom. It will protect the rest of your polenta as it cooks. About twenty-five minutes into cooking, add the corn kernels, wine, mushrooms and butter to the main pot. gently mix until the polenta is ready.
- Taste to determine salt (again, truffle salt if you've got some) and pepper needs, and serve steaming hot, adorned with fresh baby spinach leaves and some finely grated parmeggiano and, if you are feeling free and openhearted, an added tablespoon of mascarpone. (I like to serve this in small glass jars so the spinach is lightly steamed as you bring it to the table.)
- This recipe was entered in the contest for Your Best Corn off the Cob