Whole Roasted Portobello Mushrooms with Soft Polenta and Wilted Spinach Recipe

I started out ambitiously last night. I intended on making the Spring Onion + Arugula Salad with Corn Bread Croutons to go along with the above mushroom main course-but realized after making the corn bread, and then making croutons out of the corn bread, and then starting the mushroom stock - (a) there was going to be way too much food for the two of us, and (b) there were way too many things to be washed, chopped, and sauteed or baked before we were going to be able to eat. Plus I somehow got a piece of glass in my eye yesterday, ended up in the emergency room--so I was in a cranky mood.

I made the executive decision to forget the salad (I think I will make it tonight), saved the croutons in a plastic bag so they would stay fresh(ish), and focused on the oven roasted mushrooms, polenta, and wilted spinach, all of which turned out delicious, especially the polenta (which was a bit different than I have had before).

Making the mushroom stock which you were supposed to drizzle over the whole dish at the end was the big time suck (but worth it). Now that I have a giant bag of it, making this dish in the future should be a snap.
I moved onto the polenta - equal parts water and milk, added the polenta and simmered until it thickened. Towards the end I tossed in grated asiago cheese, and a good dose of lemon juice...I went pretty heavy on the salt + pepper. Mix it up....the lemon juice really made a difference--made the polenta seem brighter somehow, but not lemony-the polenta was great, and easy.

Meanwhile, I brushed the tops of 4 portobello mushrooms with a mixture of extra-virgin olive oil, and balsamic vinegar-shake of salt+pepper on each and tossed them in the oven. We do something similar with portobellos on the grill all the time, and they turned out very similar in texture and taste. I chose to flip the mushroom caps onto their backs about half way through their baking time and re-apply the oil+ vinegar. What I forgot was that at a certain point mushrooms seem to expel much of their moisture-the bottom of my stove is a disaster this morning. Note to self: use a jellyroll pan or a baking pan with edges next time.

About 5 minutes before the mushrooms were finished I heated up a wok, tossed in the required amount of butter, and tossed in the freshly rinsed and dried spinach leaves. It only took a minute or two for them to really shrivel down. Added a dose of salt+pepper. Looked great, I love those dark tasty greens.

So, the book recommended scooping the polenta into a generous sized bowl, adding some of the wilted spinach to the top and capping with one of the big mushrooms, some shaved cheese, and a drizzle of the mushrooms stock I spent 2 hours making. The only change I made was to thinly slice the mushroom caps instead of leaving them whole, and fan them over the polenta and spinach....for me it is too awkward to try to cut into a big mushroom like that sitting on a soft bed of polenta. Made for easier eating.

(includes sub-recipe for mushroom stock page: 222)

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Link: Wildwood: Cooking from the Source in the Pacific Northwest

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