Serves 4 as a starter or 2 as a main meal. Best served with a simple green salad (I like rocket) with an olive oil and balsamic vinegar dressing.
- 4 tbsp olive oil
- 350g mixed mushrooms, very large ones halved
- 2 garlic cloves, crushed or finely chopped
- 1 tbsp chopped fresh tarragon
- 1 tbsp chopped fresh thyme
- 1 tbsp truffle oil
- 500ml vegetable stock
- 80g polenta (instant)
- 80g Parmesan, grated
- 30g butter
- 1 tsp finely chopped fresh rosemary
- 1 tbsp chopped fresh chervil
- 100g Taleggio (rind removed), cut into 1cm slices
- Salt and black pepper to taste
- Heat 2 tbsp of the olive oil in a large heavy based frying pan. Add half of the mushrooms to the hot oil and fry them for a few minutes – until you can see golden-brown patches on their surface. Don’t move the mushrooms around too much – resist the urge to stir them and instead just give the pan a shake every now and then.
- Remove the cooked mushrooms from the pan and repeat the process with the rest of the mushrooms and oil.
- Turn off the heat, put all the mushrooms back to the pan and add the garlic, tarragon, thyme, truffle oil and salt and pepper to taste. Keep warm.
- Bring the stock to the boil in a saucepan and then slowly trickle in the polenta and give it a stir. Reduce the heat to the lowest setting on your stove and cook, stirring constantly with a wooden spoon. The polenta will be ready when it leaves the sides of the pan but is still runny. It should have a porridge-like consistency. Given that my version uses instant polenta this shouldn’t take more than 5 minutes. Note that if using traditional polenta this stage can take up to 50 minutes.
- Preheat your grill to high. When the polenta is ready, off the heat stir in the Parmesan, butter, rosemary and half the chervil. Season with more salt and pepper.
- Spread the polenta over a heatproof dish and place the Taleggio slices on top, evenly spaced.
- Place the dish under the grill until the cheese bubbles. Remove, top with the mushrooms and their juices, and return to the grill for a minute or two to warm up. Serve hot, sprinkled with the remaining chervil.