baked polenta, mushrooms, and caramelized red onions

Test batch for hors d’oeuvres next week. Had trouble crisping and browning the polenta when pan-frying and broiling. I finally settled on baking at 450 degrees for 25 minutes a side. Still, more time consuming than I want for something that is going to disappear in a heartbeat. My boyfriend says these one bite snacks taste like pizza… Perhaps that’s a good thing.

The process for making these polenta squares is first cooking them in a simmering milk and h20 or stock with bay leaf, cayenne pepper, and a hefty amount of kosher salt. For 1/2 C of dried polenta, I used 4 large pinches of kosher salt. Surprisingly, it wasn’t overly salty, but just right. Once the polenta is no longer mealy or grainy, it is done. I then spread it in a a single layer in a casserole dish to cool. Covered it with plastic wrap and set it out on the porch for at least 20 minutes. In the meantime, I sautéed mushrooms and red onions in red wine vinegar, a dash of worcestershire, s&p, and fresh thyme. When the polenta had "set," or firmed up, I cut out pieces to bake. The final product has a pinch of mushroom and onion mixture, topped with a dot of tomato paste, fresh thyme, and freshly grated parmesan.

For next week, I may broil it at the last minute to (hopefully), get a better crunch.


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