Wednesday, July 7, 2010

Building a Nest: Mushroom Polenta Canapes

A few years ago, I was at a wedding and had a polenta canape during cocktail hour.... and every since I've dreamed of having them again. I had never made polenta before and had only had it a few times. I started envisioning different dishes with polenta in it. For my best friend's shower, I knew I wanted a polenta recipe and searched high and low for the perfect recipe. Somewhere along the recipe search, I decided to pair mushrooms with the polenta and finally came across a Cooking Light recipe.

I thought this recipe came out pretty well- I'd like to make it again when I don't have a lot going on so I can give it a bit more attention (I believe I added cheese to both top and bottom of the polenta pieces... oops!). I thought it had great taste and looked pretty.

My one tip about cooking polenta is to watch out, it spits when you add it to the boiling liquid. Don't stand directly over the pot when it's cooking... or you'll get attacked!

Mushroom Polenta Canapes
adapted from Cooking Light


4 1/2 cups chicken broth
1 1/2 cups quick-cooking polenta
1 teaspoon salt
Cooking spray
1 tablespoon butter, melted
1/2 cup (2 ounces) shredded Gruyère cheese

1 cup boiling water
1/2 ounce dried porcini mushrooms
1 tablespoon butter
1/3 cup thinly sliced shallots
1/8 teaspoon crushed red pepper
1 cup sliced shiitake mushroom caps (about 3 1/2 ounces)
1 cup sliced cremini mushrooms (about 3 1/2 ounces)
1 teaspoon dry vermouth or dry white wine
splash of sherry wine
1/2 teaspoon minced fresh thyme
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1/4 cup (1 ounce) shaved Gruyère cheese


1. To prepare polenta, bring 4 1/2 cups broth to a boil in a medium saucepan. Gradually add polenta and 1 teaspoon salt, stirring constantly with a whisk. Reduce heat to low; cook 3 minutes or until thick, stirring frequently. Spoon polenta into a 13 x 9–inch baking pan coated with cooking spray, spreading evenly. Press plastic wrap onto surface of polenta; chill 1 hour or until firm.

2. Preheat broiler.

3. Invert polenta onto a baking sheet coated with cooking spray. Cut polenta into 36 rectangles (leave polenta on baking sheet). Broil 5 minutes. Turn polenta over. Brush polenta with 1 tablespoon butter. Broil 5 minutes. Sprinkle 1/2 cup shredded cheese evenly over rectangles; broil 5 minutes or until cheese melts.

4. To prepare topping, combine 1 cup boiling water and porcini mushrooms in a bowl; cover and let stand for 15 minutes. Drain; chop mushrooms.

5. Melt 1 tablespoon butter in a large nonstick skillet over medium heat. Add shallots to pan; cook 4 minutes or until tender, stirring frequently. Stir in red pepper; cook 30 seconds. Add porcini, shiitake, and cremini mushrooms; cook over medium-high heat 10 minutes or until liquid evaporates, stirring occasionally. Stir in vermouth, sherry, thyme, 1/4 teaspoon salt, and black pepper; cook 2 minutes, stirring frequently.

6. Spoon 1 teaspoon mushroom mixture on top of each polenta rectangle; top rectangles evenly with shaved cheese.


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