About this recipe:Cooked and cooled polenta can be cut into shapes and grilled to make an excellent base for a tempting topping. Here the polenta is flavoured with gruyère cheese, and the topping is a savoury mixture of mushrooms, walnuts and herbs. This is delicious with a simple green salad.
750 ml (3 cups) vegetable stock, preferably homemade
170 g instant polenta
80 g grated gruyère cheese
salt and pepper
15 g dried porcini mushrooms
60 ml extra virgin olive oil
250 g brown mushrooms, sliced
60 ml dry sherry
2 tbsp chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley, plus extra to garnish
Bring the stock to the boil in a large saucepan. Pour in the polenta in a steady stream, stirring with a wooden spoon to prevent lumps from forming. Cook over a low heat, stirring constantly, for about 5 minutes or until the mixture thickens and pulls away from the sides of the pan. Remove from the heat and stir in the gruyère cheese. Season with salt and pepper to taste.
Pour the polenta onto a damp baking tray and spread out into a rectangle measuring about 20 x 18 cm and about 1 cm thick. Leave to cool for 1 hour or until set.
Meanwhile, put the dried porcini mushrooms in a bowl and cover with boiling water. Leave to soak for 20 minutes. Drain, reserving 2 tbsp of the soaking liquid. Finely chop the mushrooms.
Preheat the grill to moderately hot. Lightly brush the polenta rectangle all over with 1 tbsp of the oil. Cut into 12 fingers, each measuring 6 x 5 cm, trimming the edges to straighten them. Place, oiled-side up, on the grill tray and grill for 5 minutes or until lightly browned.
Turn the polenta slices over and grill for a further 2–3 minutes or until lightly browned. Remove from the grill and keep hot.
Heat the remaining oil in a frying pan. Add the soaked dried mushrooms and the sliced brown mushrooms and sauté over a medium–high heat for 3–4 minutes or until softened.
Add the sherry and the reserved mushroom soaking liquid. Cook over a high heat for 1–2 minutes, stirring, until most of the liquid has evaporated. Add the herbs, walnuts and salt and pepper to taste.
Spoon the mushroom mixture over the warm polenta fingers. Garnish with chopped parsley and serve immediately.