Taking inspiration from my trip to Fressen on New Year’s Eve, I tried my hand at making pan fried polenta and mushrooms cooked in white wine. Although the result wasn’t an exact copy (I’m not Mozart here) I was pretty happy with the result. With only a little bit of pre-planning of making polenta a day ahead of time, this warm stewy dish with a comforting feel is a keeper.
Ingredients for mushrooms (makes 2 servings):
- Assortment of mushrooms (I used 1 package of shittake and oyter each, and 2 containers of cremini)
- A few tablespoons of vegetable oil
- 1/4 cup finely diced celery, with spines removed
- 1/2 cup dry white wine
- 1 tbsp corn starch
- 1/3 cup cold vegetable broth
Ingredients for polenta (makes 4 main-sized servings):
- 1/2 cup vegetable broth
- 1 and 1/2 cup water
- 1 and 1/3 cup corn meal
- cracked pepper
- 1 tbsp butter
Mushroom in white wine sauce
In a large pan, lightly sear the mushrooms in oil, set aside. Some of the mushrooms will exude delicious juices, and that is ok.
In the same pan, heat a dash of oil, and sautee the celery for a few minutes until tender. Place the seared mushrooms back in the hot pan and add white wine. Let cook until the wine has reduced by half. In the meantime, dissolve cornstarch in the vegetable broth. Stir into the pan when the wine has reduced and cook for a few minutes until the desired consistency has been reached. Add salt and pepper to taste.
Eating this with pan fried polenta and tofu is just one of many ways you can enjoy this dish. Next time I think I might try quinoa, or risotto, or… quinoa risotto!
Pan fried polenta
I recommend making the polenta the day before. Even though polenta is very simple to make, to be able to pan fry it without it falling apart, you have to let it cool after cooking in the pot. It needs some time to firm up in the fridge, which will save you a lot of grief.
First, line a 9×13 baking pan with plastic wrap or wax paper. This is where the cooked polenta will rest overnight.
To make the polenta, bring the vegetable broth and water in a medium pot to a boil, add the salt. While stirring the pot, slowly pour in the corn meal. Lower the heat to medium and let it simmer and bubble until it is thick like molasses. Add the pepper (optional) and stir in the butter. Then, pour into the prepared baking pan and let cool. Cover and place in the refrigerator overnight.
To pan fry the polenta, cut polenta into squares or triangles. Personally I like triangles. Because I used a large baking pan, I didn’t have too much slicing to do. You could really pour the polenta into any container, but I find it extremely convenient when it’s in a large enough container so that it spreads out to the thickness that I want, which is 2 cm.
Generously oil a non-stick pan (I know, I know… I would use a wok but I don’t have one) and raise the heat to medium. Once the oil is hot enough (runny), gently place the cut polenta slices onto the pan. Cook for 15-20 minutes or until it has reached your preferred crispness-brownness quotient, and flip to cook the other side.
The day after mushrooms in white wine sauce, we used up the rest of the polenta as a carrier for delicious eggs poached in tomato sauce (a can of diced tomato + spinach + mushrooms). Smittenkitchen has a recipe over here.