One of my earliest memories is eating raw mushrooms. Like so many of my really early memories, this one is fuzzy. What I clearly remember is that I was in the kitchen in my family’s house in Baltimore, MD. My mom was cooking, and I was pulling at her apron strings, probably bored and trying to get her attention in the same unrelenting way that Little Guy does now to me when I’m trying to cook. To shut me up, my mom gave me a raw mushroom to munch on. I loved it and ate several more. But what I find so strange about this memory is that other than that one memory, I grew up hating mushrooms: raw or cooked.
Well, my grandmother had a saying that your taste buds change every seven years. Mine did change, and now mushrooms are one of my favorite foods; my husband’s too. We eat a lot of them. Expensive cosmetic companies tout that mushrooms will keep you young forever; if that’s the case then Hubby and I are here to stay! I add them to pasta and soup, saute them to top off steaks, stuff them, puree them, and put them in and on almost anything.
This recipe is one of my all-time favorite ways to eat them. I love how the mushroom texture feels in my mouth combined with the creamy center and crispy edges of the grilled polenta, and I love the umami taste of the mushrooms. Sometimes I’ll drizzle a little truffle oil over this, but it doesn’t really need it. You can use any combination of mushrooms you like, or keep it simple and just use crimini mushrooms.
When I first started making this recipe I used premade, tubed polenta. However, polenta is just so easy to make; you can add so much flavor to it; and your finished product is greatly improved over the store-bought product. It is just fantastic that you can make almost all of it ahead of time – even a few days ahead, including the sauteed mushrooms. Then the night you are going to eat it, all you have to do is slice and grill the polenta and heat up the mushrooms in the microwave. I know you are going to like this; it’s one of those meals that guarantees even the toughest meat eater will not miss his moo. Enjoy!