So what happened to the wild mushrooms I saw in San Francisco? Well, I brought them home, and tonight I cooked them with baked polenta. The result was awesome.
At the Ferry Plaza I bought a small quantity of chanterelles, lobster mushrooms and cauliflower mushrooms, the last of which I had never seen before. Earlier in the week I had cooked a butternut squash, and had served the cauliflower and lobster mushrooms with it — but had leftovers of each. Tonight we had an excellent meal of Polenta with a Wild Mushroom Ragout.
First, I sautéed the Chanterelles, which were still in the paper bag I brought back from SF. Cut into thin slices, sauté in olive oil, add some water or stock and evaporate, and then add 1/4 cup of white wine — in this case leftover Champagne — a couple of times, until the mushrooms are tender and cooked through. Prepare the polenta: 1 cup of medium ground cornmeal to 3 1/2 cups of water, brought to a rolling boil, salted with 1 tsp., and then finely drizzled into the boiling water, and stirred for 20 minutes.
When the polenta is cooked, oil a baking dish and pour the polenta into it. Smooth the top with a spatula and set aside to cool. Boil a bunch of Cavolo Nero (or Lacinato Kale — same thing) in salted water until tender. Drain, chop, and add a little olive oil and salt, Set aside.
I had already roasted the butternut squash batonettes and sautéed the cauliflower mushrooms and lobster mushrooms, so they were leftovers and ready-to-go, but you can prepare them now, or use other wild mushrooms if you wish.
I put 1-2 Tbs of olive oil to a sauté pan, and added 1/2 diced onion, cooking on medium heat until lightly browned. Add 1-2 garlic cloves, finely diced, and then add 5-6 Cremini mushrooms, thinly sliced, and sauté until lightly browned. Add two fresh tomatoes, peeled and chopped, plus a few squirts of tomato paste from a tube, and cook with the mushrooms until most of the liquid is gone.
Preheat the oven to 400º F. Take the baking dish with the polenta, and:
- arrange the squash pieces along the edge
- spread the Cavolo Nero on top of the polenta
- spread the wild mushroom/tomato ragout over the top
- top with fresh corn kernels stripped from an ear of corn, if you have it
- bake in hot oven for about 15 minutes until cooked through and browned
- non-vegans might add some grated parmesan on top
- remove from the oven, add several small fresh basil leaves and a drizzle of olive oil
Serve with a bottle of Villa Creek 2009 Damas Noir (100% Mourvedre). Go straight to Heaven, do not pass GO.