“I’m not a chef, I’m Italian”- David Rocco

Wednesday, January 1, 2014

Buon Anno! e Polenta Fritti with Wild Mushrooms

Felice Anno Nouvo!! Happy New Year to my friends all around the world. This year has been absolutely amazing, I am so grateful for the wonderful opportunities that I’ve had. From becoming a Sous Chef with Feast on History to studying cooking in Italy and all of the incredible things that happened while I was there and seeing Paul McCartney in concert. Yes, that is seriously one of the highlights from my year. (For those that don’t know, I am a HUGE Beatles fan) As I mentioned in my last post, I have a lot of very exciting things in the works that I will be announcing over the next month or so, so please stay tuned. Last night I hosted a New Years Eve Party for my family and friends, the pressure was on. Everyone knew I had just returned from studying cooking so I felt the need to really shine!! In fact, a few of my guests told me they had been bragging to their friends about coming to a chefs house for dinner, that brought the biggest smile to my face!

One of things I served last night was my Polenta Fritti with Wild Mushrooms. Polenta Frittii something I enjoyed a few times while in Florence, a deep fried piece of polenta and yes, it is every bit as good as it sounds. Here is my recipe, hope you all like it as much as I do. Enjoy!

Polenta Fritti with Wild Mushrooms
Wild Mushrooms
2 tbsp. butter
1 tsp. salt
1 tsp. pepper
1 tbsp. minced garlic
3 cups of mixed wild mushrooms
3 tbsp. chopped parsley
In a medium size pan over medium heat, heat your butter, salt, pepper and minced garlic. Let the garlic get a little color, but not too much. Add the mushrooms and cook until a lot of the liquid has evaporated. I personally like the mushrooms a little dry, not too wet, so let them cook for around half an hour. Once they have finished cooked, add the chopped parsley and mix. Serve a tablespoon or two on top of the Polenta Fritti.
Polenta Fritti
8 cups of water
1 tbsp. salt
2 cups of medium grain poleta
2 tbsp. dried Italian seasonings (rosemary, oregano, etc)
1 cup of neutral oil, plus 1 tbsp (I like to use canola or peanut oil for frying)
In a large pot, bring 8 cups of salted water to a boil. Add the polenta and seasonings and mix with a wooden spoon. Oil a pound cake pan and pour the polenta in the pan and spread it so the top of the flat. You can choose to shape and cut them however you like, I pour my polenta in a pound cake pan, let it harden up a little and then slice it almost like a loaf of bread. Cover it and put in the refrigerator for an hour. Once the hour is up, flip the pan over on a cutting board, the polenta should easily come out. Slice the polenta the same way you would slice bread, I like to slice it pretty thin, around ½ an inch. Prepare a large deep pot while the oil over medium high heat. Once it is hot enough, add the polenta, as many as you can get in there. I like my polenta really REALLY crispy, so each piece can take around 7 minutes to get that crunchy. As the pieces finish, put them a paper towel on a wire rack. Top with the wild mushrooms. Boun Appetito!!

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