Grilled Polenta and Balsamic Mushrooms

Photo: Marcus Nilsson

A main course and a salad in one: polenta, arugula, and portobellos with a warm balsamic sauce.


  • 6 portobello mushrooms (about 1 pound), stems and caps separated, halved if very large

  • 2 garlic cloves, coarsely chopped (about 1 tablespoon)

  • 2 tablespoons coarsely chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley

  • 1 teaspoon coarsely chopped fresh thyme

  • 1 ½ teaspoons coarse salt

  • Freshly ground pepper, to taste

  • cup balsamic vinegar

  • ¼ cup plus 1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil, plus more for brushing

  • ½ cup homemade or low-sodium store-bought chicken or vegetable stock

  • 12 pieces set polenta (about ½ batch) Basic Polenta (Soft or Set), cut into 1-inch-thick rectangles or triangles

  • 2 cups arugula (2 ounces)

  • 8 ounces Parmigiano-Reggiano, shaved


  1. Toss portobellos with garlic, herbs, salt, pepper, vinegar, and 1/4 cup oil in a large bowl. Let stand at room temperature, tossing occasionally, for 1 hour.

  2. Transfer portobellos to a plate. Pour marinade into a small saucepan, and bring to a boil. Reduce heat, and simmer 1 minute. Add stock. Raise heat, and bring to a boil. Reduce heat, and simmer until reduced by half, about 10 minutes. Stir in remaining tablespoon oil, and remove from heat.

  3. Preheat grill to medium-high. (If you are using a charcoal grill, coals are ready when you can hold your hand 5 inches above grill for just 3 to 4 seconds.) Lightly brush top and bottom of polenta with oil, and place in center of grill. Cook, flipping once, until polenta is marked, crisp, and no longer sticks to grill, 6 to 8 minutes per side. Meanwhile, place portobellos on cooler part of grill, and cook, turning frequently to avoid burning, until tender, about 10 minutes.

  4. Place arugula on a platter, and arrange polenta and portobellos on top. Drizzle about half the sauce over portobellos. Top with Parmigiano-Reggiano. Serve immediately with extra sauce on the side.

Cook's Notes

The trick to grilling polenta is to know when to flip it. Wait until the entire piece can be lifted off the grates cleanly with a metal spatula. This way, the crisp surface won't stick to the grill.

Related Articles