I’m always curious about what people in my group-ex classes think while doing their round kicks, pushups, or bicycle crunches. I usually exercise after work and my mind is often busy with possible dinner ideas. This past Friday, instead of following the kick-boxing instructor, I found myself inventing a new polenta recipe in my head.
What do you know? The time was not wasted, the recipe turned out great! The kids loved this delicious, totally unusual polenta cake so much that they demanded it to be repeated the following night. This recipe is definitely a keeper!
Cheesy Zucchini Polenta Cakes with Mushroom Duxelles:
For the polenta:
6 2/3 cups canned low-salt vegetable broth
5 zucchinis, shredded, excess water removed
1 tablespoon fresh marjoram
1 tablespoon Grape Seed Oil
1 2/3 cups polenta (coarse cornmeal)
1 cup (packed) grated Mexican cheese blend (or any other shredded cheese)
½ cup grated Parmesan Cheese
- Bring broth to boil over medium-high heat.
- Gradually sprinkle in polenta, whisking constantly. Reduce heat to medium-low; simmer until polenta is thick and creamy and begins to pull away from sides of pan, whisking often, about 25 minutes. It should resemble the texture of the thick oatmeal.
- While polenta is simmering, sauté shredded zucchinis and marjoram in 1 tablespoon of oil. Remove from heat when zucchinis start to brown.
- When polenta is done, add zucchinis to Polenta.
- Turn the heat off and add cheese and stir until it melts.
- Season with salt and pepper.
- Spread polenta on a cookie sheet, covered with Parchment paper, to an even 1-inch thickness. Cover with another piece of Parchment paper and refrigerate until needed.
For the Mushroom Duxelles Topping:
2 lbs sliced white (or any other type of) mushrooms
2 red onions, diced
¼ cup wine
2 tablespoon unsalted butter
- Heat a large skillet over medium-high.
- Melt the butter and add the onions.
- Cook for about 10 minutes, or until the onions soften and begin to brown. Mix the sliced mushrooms into the onion and wait until they release water and begin to brown.
- Add wine and let the mushrooms absorb it.
- Add salt and pepper to taste.
- Remove from heat and set aside.
- Preheat oven broiler on low and place oven rack in the upper third position.
- Remove the polenta from the fridge and cut into 24 triangles. Sprinkle some Parmesan or Mexican Cheese over each square, and broil for 4-5 minutes until polenta is golden and crispy. The longer you keep polenta in the oven, the firmer it becomes. Experiment to see how firm you like your polenta.
- Remove from the oven and let it cool slightly.
- Place two polenta triangles on a plate and top with a spoonful of the warm mushroom/onion topping. Sprinkle with Parmesan cheese
On Friday, we opened a bottle of Grgich Hills Estate Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon and felt that it worked perfectly with the mushroom Duxelles. On Saturday, the wine of choice was Don Carlo Cabernet Sauvignon Columbia, that I received as a gift from a friend.