recipe: il polenta fritto con l’asparago e fungi portabello d’imbottito

Stuffed large portabello mushroom caps served with fried polenta, broiled asparagus and hollendaise sauce was what I put together for today. It is bits and pieces of different meals I’ve had and enjoyed using a few tricks I picked up along the way. A few weeks ago I was supposed to make this for a special occasion with a friend, but she got sick and things just didn’t work out the way it was planned. As with most things in life though, it worked out great despite the extra wait and now, we have another meal we can make and enjoy together anytime with very little effort (although, it does take a little pre-planning). And, there’s nothing better than that.

Polenta (medium ground homily grits work as a substitute)
Stock (made fresh from the veggies used in the rest of the dish)
Large skillet

Heat the stock up to a boil and reduce to a simmer. You’ll need about a 3:1 or 4:1 ratio of liquid to polenta depending on the package instructions. Reserve some extra hot water on the side in case you need to thin out the polenta during cooking.
Add the polenta and butter to the stock and salt as necessary.
Stir frequently over low heat to ensure the polenta doesn’t stick to the bottom of the pot. This also helps work the gluten to create the thick rich texture.
Once all the liquid is absorbed, about 20-30 minutes, remove from the heat and allow to cool in the refrigerator. You can transfer it to another vessel if you want thinner cakes or different shapes.
Once the polenta is completely cooled remove it from the pot and cut it into wedges.
In the large skillet melt the butter over medium heat
Fry the polenta on each side until golden brown and crispy. Plate while still hot (see below for plating)

Olive Oil
Sheet pan

Lightly coat the asparagus in olive oil and salt
In a broiler or oven preheated to 400 degrees roast the asparagus to your preferred doneness. Personally, I like them to get brown to almost blackened so there’s a real depth to the flavor of them. Alternatively, you can also grill them.
Serve over the polenta immediately from the oven.

4 egg yolks
1 stick of butter
cayenne pepper
lemon juice

I am not well versed in making holendaise sauce, but I do know a few tricks and short cuts that make it work without having to do the hand whipped double boiler thing with the eggs that usually results in my scrambling them.

Warm the butter in a small sauce pan until completely melted
In the blender combine the eggs, salt and pepper. Pulse to combine.
Add the lemon to the butter and then while pulsing the eggs ad the butter to the blender carefully as not to splatter everywhere.
Continue to pulse until completely combined
Return the mixture into the small sauce pan and warm to serving temperature.
Pour over the asparagus and polenta to serve.


About thedoormouse

I am I. That’s all that i am. my little mousehole in cyberspace of fiction, recipes, sacrasm, op-ed on music, sports, and other notations both grand and tiny:
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