Polenta Crostini Bites with Caramelized Porcini Mushroom Cicchetti - (Free Recipe below)

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Polenta Crostini Bites with Caramelized Porcini Mushroom Cicchetti

What You Need:

For the polenta:
    • 1 cup heavy cream
    • 1 cup chicken stock
    • 1 tsp. finely ground sea salt
    • 1 cup polenta
    • 1 - 2 cups freshly grated Italian Fontina cheese, plus more to pass around to guests
    • 1 - 2 cups freshly grated Parmesan, plus more for garnish and to pass around to guests
For the mushrooms:
  • 3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1/2 pound porcini mushrooms, diced
  • Finely ground sea salt
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • 2 Tbsp. unsalted butter
  • 1 Tbsp. freshly minced garlic
  • 1 tsp. finely chopped fresh thyme leaves
  • 2 Tbsp. freshly-squeezed lemon juice
  • 3/4 cup dry white wine
  • 2 Tbsp. finely chopped Italian parsley leaves
  • 1 long, thin loaf of Italian or French bread, sliced thin, toasted, drizzled with olive oil and rubbed with fresh garlic


Cook the polenta: 
    • In a medium, heavy pot over high heat bring the cream, stock, and sea salt to a boil. 
    • Add the polenta gradually, whisking constantly. 
    • When the mixture thickens, switch to a wooden spoon and adjust the heat to maintain a bare simmer. 
    • Cook, stirring often, until thick, smooth, and creamy, about 15 minutes. 
    • Stir in the Fontina and Parmesan cheeses. 
    • Keep the polenta warm over low heat, stirring occasionally. 
    • If the polenta gets dry as it sits, stir in about 1/4 cup of cream at a time, until it reaches your preference of wetness/dryness.
Saute the mushrooms: 
  • In a medium skillet over high heat, heat the olive oil. 
  • When the oil is hot, place the mushrooms in a single layer, and do not stir! 
  • Cook the mushrooms to a sizzling point until they have caramelized on the bottom, about 2 - 3 minutes. 
  • When the bottoms are caramelized, toss them once and season with salt and pepper, to taste. Continue to cook without stirring for about 5 minutes. 
  • Season mushrooms with salt and pepper. 
  • Add the butter and cook until it begins to brown.
  • Then add the garlic. 
  • Continue to cook until the garlic begins to brown, do not burn the garlic.
  • Add the thyme and cook for about 10 seconds more. 
  • Add the lemon juice and cook until it evaporates. 
  • Add the wine, and simmer until the mushrooms are glazed with the sauce. 
  • Add the parsley. 
  • Then stir and remove the pan from the heat.
  • Place about 1 tablespoon of warm polenta on each little slice of toasted bread (crostini). 
  • Place about 1/2 teaspoon of the mushroom on top of the polenta. 
  • Garnish with grated Parmesan and minced Italian parsley. 
  • Serve immediately.