Sauteed Mushrooms With Polenta


An ideal appetizer or light lunch, this flavorful dish requires little preparation and cooking time. Although the recipe calls for shiitake and button mushrooms, you substitute portobello or porcini varieties; serve the mushrooms over soft or set polenta.


  • ½ cup instant polenta

  • ¼ cup grated Parmesan cheese, plus curls for garnish

  • Coarse salt and freshly ground black pepper

  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter

  • 1 pound shiitake mushrooms, stemmed, cut crosswise into ½-inch pieces

  • 1 pound button or cremini mushrooms, trimmed and quartered

  • 4 to 5 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil

  • ¼ cup finely chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley

  • 1 tablespoon chopped fresh thyme

  • ½ cup Madeira

  • Vegetable-oil cooking spray


  1. Spray a miniature loaf pan (5 3/4 by 3 1/4 by 2 inches) with nonstick vegetable spray. In a medium saucepan, bring 2 cups salted water to a boil. Whisking constantly, add polenta in a slow steady stream. Reduce heat to medium, and continue to cook, whisking constantly for 3 minutes. Stir in grated Parmesan cheese, salt, pepper, and butter. Pour polenta into prepared pan. Transfer to refrigerator until completely cool, about 2 hours.

  2. In a large skillet, heat 2 tablespoons oil over high heat. Add mushrooms, and cook, stirring occasionally, until golden brown, about 10 minutes. Stir in parsley and thyme. Add Madeira, and cook, stirring to scrape up browned bits from the bottom of the pan, until liquid is almost evaporated, about 2 minutes. Taste, and adjust for seasoning.

  3. While mushrooms are cooking, remove polenta from refrigerator. Using a small spatula, loosen polenta and remove from pan. Turn polenta out onto cutting board and cut into 1/2-inch slices. Heat remaining 2 tablespoons oil in a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Add polenta slices and cook until golden brown, about 4 minutes per side. Add additional oil as needed to avoid sticking. Serve immediately, topped with sauteed mushrooms and garnished with Parmesan curls.

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