Polenta has been such a hot topic lately, I am thrilled to have so many reasons to use it. I love that it is a versatile ingredient that can be used in both sweet and savory dishes for breakfast, lunch or dinner! It is also neat how there is so much texture play. In these bite sized polenta cakes, I cooked the polenta until firm and then cut out the shapes with flower cookie cutters. This is a fun appetizer for holiday get togethers. Holiday themed cookie cutters would be fun too, stars, xmas tree's, snowmen etc.....You can also make larger shapes and use as a bed under a lean protein, topped with the mushroom ragú. Pair with steamed veggies or a side salad. —Marla
about 32 2" polenta cakes
Polenta Feta Cakes
Coarse Ground Polenta (fine milled OK too)
Water or Broth (veggie, chicken or beef broth OK)
each Garlic Salt, Black Pepper, Thyme
Mixed Dried Mushrooms (Porcini, Chanterelle and Shitake used here)
hot Broth (use same kind if you used for polenta)
each Saffron, Thyme, Garlic Salt and Black Pepper
Follow polenta package cooking directions. -or- Bring liquid to a boil, slowly whisk in polenta, and spices. Turn heat to low, stirring continuously. Cook for about five minutes or until it all the liquid is absorbed. The polenta will be very thick. Take off stove once liquid is absorbed.
Add feta and combine thoroughly.
Prepare a glass pan or baking sheet with a light coat of olive oil or cooking spray.
Transfer polenta to baking sheet and spread it evenly into a 1/2 inch layer. An offset spatula or regular spatula is helpful here.
Let polenta cool completely. You can cover it and put it in the fridge for a little while or just leave it at room temperature.
Once solid, cut out your shapes.
Coat or spray a sauté pan with a thin layer of oil. You can use the same pan you will use below for the mushrooms, less clean up! Heat on medium heat and lightly brown each piece of polenta on both sides. They will be slightly crispy on the outside and creamy in the middle.
In a medium bowl combine dried mushrooms and hot broth. Let them soak for about 20 minutes.
Squeeze liquid out with your hands and transfer mushrooms to a cutting board. Dice into small pieces.
In a sauté pan lightly coated with oil, add mushrooms and seasonings. Cook on medium heat for a few minutes, until flavors combine and mushrooms caramelize a bit.
Add remaining broth to pan and continue to cook until most of the liquid has been reduced.
ASSEMBLY: Top each Polenta Feta Cake with a small amount of mushroom ragú. Garnish each piece with sprinkles of finely snipped chives.