This flavorful dish is sure to impress at your next dinner party!


3 cups water
1-1/4 tsp sea salt or to taste
1 cup imported Italian cornmeal
4 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil
1/4 cup crumbled gorgonzola
1 Tbsp minced fresh sage
cracked black pepper, to taste
2 Tbsp grated Parmesan
16 fried sage leaves

Bring the water and 1 tsp salt to a boil in a heavy pot.  Very slowly whisk in the cornmeal.  Do not let the water stop boiling.  When all of the cornmeal is in the pot, lower the heat to medium and begin stirring with a wooden spoon.  Cook, stirring frequently, for about 30 minutes, or until the polenta is quite thick and pulls away from the sides of the pan.  Stir in 1 Tbsp of the olive oil and the gorgonzola.  Scrape from the pot into a 9-inch square pan and let cool for at least 4 hours.  Cut into 3-inch squares.  Preheat the grill or broiler.  Combine the remaining olive oil, sage, salt and pepper and generously coat the polenta slices on both sides with the oil.  Grill for about 2 minutes on each side, or until heated through and seared.  Place 2 squares on each of 4 plates.  Place a mound of Portobello Ragout (see recipe below) in the center and sprinkle with grated Parmesan. Garnish with fried sage leaves and serve immediately.

Portobello Ragout

1/2 cup dried porcini mushrooms
2 cups boiling water
1 large Portobello mushroom
1 small fennel bulb
2-1/2 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil
1 medium leek, well washed and chopped
4 cloves garlic, minced
1 Tbsp minced fresh chives
1 Tbsp minced fresh thyme
1 Tbsp minced fresh chervil
2 Tbsp balsamic vinegar
sea salt, to taste
cracked black pepper, to taste
2 Tbsp chopped fresh parsley

Put the porcini in a small heatproof bowl and cover with the boiling water.  Let steep for 30 minutes, or until the mushrooms are softened.  Drain through a fine sieve, reserving both the mushrooms and the liquid.  Strain again if the liquid seems dirty.  Chop the mushrooms and set aside.

Clean the Portobello mushroom.  Remove and chop the stem and set aside.  Thinly slice the cap and set aside.  Trim the fennel bulb.  Cut crosswise into fine slices.  Set aside.

Heat 1/2 Tbsp of olive oil in a large sauté pan over medium heat.  Stir in the leek and garlic.  Sauté for 7 minutes or until the vegetables begin to soften.  Add the porcini, chives, thyme, chervil and chopped portobello stem.  Sauté for about 7 minutes more, or until the vegetables begin to caramelize.  Stir in the vinegar and deglaze the pan.  Add the reserved porcini liquid, season with salt and pepper and bring to a boil.  Lower the heat and simmer until reduced to about 1 cup.

Meanwhile, heat the remaining oil in a sauté pan over medium heat.  Add and sauté the sliced portobello cap for about 5 minutes.  Add and sauté the fennel for about 5 minutes, or until tender.  Remove from the heat and stir the porcini mixture into the portobello and fennel.  Just before serving, stir in the parsley.

Serves 4


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