There is nothing better than fresh corn on the cob unless, that is, you use it to make fresh savory polenta. The process of making polenta is simple and easy – the kernels of corn are cut from the cob, simmered in their own juice, pureed and then cooked again until the mixture thickens. The mushroom/Madeira topping is an added bonus.
This recipe is hearty and flavorful. Serve it as either an appetizer or double amount on each plate and serve as an entrée.
6 large ears of yellow corn
½ teaspoon fresh rosemary (chopped fine)
½ cup Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese (grated)
Salt and pepper to taste
2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
2 tablespoons butter
2 shallots (sliced thin)
1 pound fresh Shiitake mushrooms (trim off woody stems)
¾ teaspoon salt
½ teaspoon fresh ground black pepper
¼ cup Madeira wine
2 tablespoons parsley (chopped fine)
Parsley sprigs for garnish
Remove the husk and silk from the corn. Rinse under cold water then slice kernels off the cob.
In a medium saucepan, barely cover the kernels with water, stir in the rosemary and simmer for about 10 minutes. Remove from heat.
Transfer the corn to a food processor, reserving the cooking liquid. Blend until the kernels break down, using some of the cooking liquid as needed if the mixture looks too dry. Retain unused cooking liquid.
Transfer the mixture back to the pan with the cooking liquid and stir in the Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Cook over medium heat for 10 to 15 minutes, stirring occasionally, until the mixture thickens to a porridge-like consistency. Remove from heat, cover and set aside.
While the polenta is simmering, prepare the mushroom topping.
Heat oil and butter in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Once the oil/butter is melted, add shallots and cook until soft, about 2 minutes. Add mushrooms, salt, pepper and cook, stirring occasionally, until golden brown, about 8 minutes. Add the Madeira and parsley and cook until liquid is reduced by half, about 3 minutes. Turn off heat, cover and set aside.
To serve, divide the polenta evenly among four plates (as an entrée – eight plates as an appetizer). Top each plate of polenta with mushroom mixture and a sprig of parsley. Bring to the table while still warm.