What do you eat when you’re alone? You know, those nights when you may be dining solo, when you don’t really “need” to cook for someone? We all have those meals. There are some nights when all I really want to eat is a big plate full of fresh fruit, creamy, stinky cheeses and a hunk of bread. I know friends who may opt for the pancakes-for-dinner route. Or even breakfast cereal. It’s okay, we all have those nights.
I think I found something else that fits the bill. It’s not exactly a dish that takes the easy way out of cooking, and technically, it is an appetizer. But if you hear me out, you might find yourself wishing this for dinner, too.
A few weeks ago, I was reacquainting myself with the keenly missed Gourmet; now that I have an iPad (yay!), I am thrilled to explore this old favorite in its stunning, shiny, new format. I happened across a recipe for Herbed Polenta “Fries” – one glance and I knew I had to try it. Creamy on the inside, but crunchy on the outside, these polenta fries get their perfect texture from broiling. I made a similar version several weeks ago when I catered a little event; formed as little cakes, each were topped with my Beer Braised Short Ribs – it was, apparently, the favorite. But last night, I wanted to make them in their “French fry” form, to go with a Mushroom & Artichoke Fricassée.
What really makes these polenta fries special are all the fresh herbs infused within the creaminess.
I found myself noshing away on this sophisticated, yet rustic, comfort food, and found my little ones happily munching away on the fries, too. My daughter was eager to top hers with the mushrooms she grew (Ah, that reminds me! If you haven’t yet entered to win a Back to the Roots Mushroom Kit, I hope you do!) – her little harvest of mushrooms worked quite nicely in this fricasée. Fruit and cheese rounded out the meal for me, making this crowd pleaser the perfect dinner.
I guess I’m an appetizer-for-dinner kind of gal. How about you?
Herbed Polenta Fries with Mushroom & Artichoke Fricassée
Herbed Polenta Fries
For recipe, please see Gourmet, January 2009.
Mushroom & Artichoke Fricasée
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 1 tablespoon butter
- 4 cups mushrooms (an assortment works nicely), thinly sliced
- 3 cloves garlic, finely minced
- 2 artichoke hearts, sliced
- 1 teaspoon fish sauce
- freshly ground black pepper
- 1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
- 1/4 cup white wine
- 1 tablespoon fresh thyme
In a large saute pan over medium heat, melt the butter in the olive oil. Add the mushrooms and cook for about 3-4 minutes, until they are wilted. Add the garlic, artichoke hearts, fish sauce and black pepper. Cook for another minute. Stir in the lemon juice and white wine. Adjust the seasoning with salt and pepper. Stir in fresh thyme. Serve immediately with Herbed Polenta Fries.