I love dishes that serve as a depot for vegetables and flavor, a blank canvas to which you can add whatever you have lying around. In this dish, polenta plays canvas to a trio of superfoods: kale, shitake and maitake (hen of the woods) mushrooms. This is great as a side-dish or snack. As a variation you could cut the polenta into smaller squares, top with shaved parmigiano reggiano, and serve as hors d'oeuvres. If you like it a little crispier, just throw it on a baking sheet and put it under the broiler for a few minutes until just browned. —SustainablePantry
coarse ground cornmeal
garlic cloves, crushed
corn kernels (fresh or frozen)
chopped mushrooms (I prefer shitake, maitake, enoki, etc)
parmigiano reggiano (or other hard aged cheese), grated
dried thyme (or fresh, if you've got it)
freshly ground pepper
In This Recipe
Bring 2.5 cups of water to a boil. Once boiling, add the cornmeal, whisking to prevent lumping few minutes. Add corn, thyme, and salt and pepper. Turn heat to low and continue to cook for about 10-15 minutes, stirring occasionally. If the polenta becomes too stiff, add a little more water. (You might have to add up to a cup more water–add 1/4 cup at a time.)
Meanwhile, heat a large saute pan over medium heat. When hot, add olive oil and garlic. Cook for about a minute until garlic is fragrant. Add mushrooms and salt, and continue to cook for about 4-6 minutes, until the mushrooms give off some liquid.
Add kale and about 2 tablespoons of water to the mushrooms, then cover the pot for about a minute, until the kale softens up.
Add the mushrooms and kale to the polenta. Be sure to add all the liquid from the mushrooms. Mix the cheese into the polenta, and spread the mixture into a parchment-lined Pyrex dish or 1/2 sheet pan. (The parchment should extend over the edges of the pan a bit, this will make it a lot easier to take out the set polenta later. Trust me.)
Place on a cooling rack for at least 1 hour, until the polenta cools completely and sets. The pan can be refrigerated for a few days before the next step.
When ready to serve, preheat oven to 350F. Cut polenta into squares. (Or any shapes you want. Use a cookie cutter!) Place squares on baking sheet and cook for 10 minutes until heated through.