Mushroom Polenta Rounds

“This is an easy holiday appetizer that never fails to wow guests.  Pair it with our big, rich Merlot.  The juicy berry flavors of the wine perfectly complement the rich earthiness of the roasted mushrooms.”
– Pennie Haase, Director of National Marketing and Northeast Regional Sales

– Serves 6 to 8 –

2 lb. polenta round, sliced in 1/2” rounds, each cut in half
2 Tbsp. olive oil
2 Tbsp. butter
1 lb. mushrooms, sliced (shitake, portobello, button or wild mushroom)
1 shallot, thinly sliced
1 garlic clove, finely minced
¹⁄8 cup sherry vinegar
¾ tsp. salt
¼ tsp. black pepper
2 sprigs fresh thyme
¼ tsp. red pepper flakes
¼ cup Italian parsley, chopped
½ cup Fontina cheese, grated

Method of Preparation:
Preheat oven to 450˚.  Lightly brush each side of polenta with olive oil.  Arrange on parchment lined baking sheets.  Roast for 15 minutes, then flip each piece over and roast for another 10 minutes.  The polenta should be crispy and golden brown.

While the polenta is roasting, melt butter with 1 tablespoon olive oil, add sliced mushrooms and cook slowly on low to medium heat for about 12 minutes, stirring often.  Add the garlic, thyme, shallots, salt, pepper and red pepper flakes, then cook 5-10 minutes more until there is no liquid and the mushrooms are browned and tender.  Add vinegar and cook until liquid evaporates.  Taste and add additional salt if needed.  Remove from heat and stir in parsley.  (This takes 25-30 minutes and it can be done the day before.)

Top each polenta piece with the mushroom mixture and cheese.  Bake for 5 minutes or until the cheese is melted and bubbly.  Remove from the oven and sprinkle with a few parsley leaves.  This can be served hot or at room temperature.