Another day, another barbecue! With the days getting longer and the weather getting warmer, we’ve really enjoyed making our meals outside. We had a delicious barbecue at a friend’s house on Sunday, and as a starter, we made this grilled polenta dish. We use a lot of polenta in our house, as cornmeal is a hearty whole grain pantry staple, but we rarely use pre-cooked, rolled polenta, since it’s so easy to cook cornmeal into polenta (see this recipe); however this is a great time to use the pre-cooked since it’s easy to just buy, slice and grill.
Grilled Polenta with Mushrooms
- 1 roll pre-made polenta (look for good quality polenta with few ingredients)
- 2 cups shitake mushroom caps, diced
- 2 cloves garlic, chopped
- Olive oil
- Fresh herbs (I used thyme and chives)
- Balsamic vinegar, reduced*
- Salad greens
- Salt, pepper
- Preheat the grill on high. Cut the polenta log into inch-wide round slices.
- Grill polenta about 3 minutes per side. No need to oil the slices–the slices we oiled actually stuck more than the non-oiled slices.
- Separately, heat some olive oil in a sauté pan, and add garlic; cook for a few moments. Add chopped mushrooms, thyme, salt and pepper. Cook over medium heat for 8-10 minutes, until mushrooms soften up.
- Toss salad greens with oil, vinegar, and season with salt and pepper.
- Plate with greens on the bottom, then grilled polenta slices, and top with mushroom mixture. Garnish with chopped chives, and drizzle with reduced balsamic vinegar.
This recipe can be modified with other vegetable sautées, such as cherry tomatoes and basil, or zucchini and red onion, or garbanzo beans and cumin. What other toppings do you think would be good with grilled polenta?
*Reduced balsamic vinegar is a sweet, syrupy, glorious thing. To make reduced balsamic vinegar, pour 1/2 cup of good quality (caramel color should NOT be in the ingredients!) balsamic vinegar in a small sauce pan and bring to a simmer. Simmer for 10-15 minutes, until it reduces and becomes syrupy. Keep watch over the boiling vinegar, as it can burn easily. Store in a squeeze bottle to drizzle over grilled vegetables, pasta and sandwiches.