Grilled Mushrooms with Polenta and Fonduta di Cambozola

VP, Marketing Cynthia Lohr loves this appetizer for its simplicity and ease-of- preparation, not to mention its ability to appeal to the three generations in her family!  She’s also a closet lover of mushrooms, whose flavors contrast nicely with the soft berry finish of the Fog’s Reach Pinot Noir.

Ingredients
Fonduta de Cambozola:

  • ½ head of roasted garlic, peeled and mashed
  • 5 oz of Cambozola cheese
  • ½ cup whipping cream
  • 4 triangles polenta, prepared for grilling (recipe below)
  • Olive oil
  • Salt and freshly ground pepper
  • ½ pound porcini, chanterelles, or portabella mushrooms, cleaned and sliced ¼ inch thick
  • 2 t chives, chopped

Polenta preparation for grilling:

  • 2 cups water
  • ½ cup polenta
  • ½ t salt
  • ½ cup Parmesan cheese, grated
  • 1 t olive oil

Preparation
Bring the water to boil in a large saucepan.  Add the polenta in a thin stream, stirring constantly with a whisk.  Cook over medium heat, stirring frequently and scraping the sides and bottom of the pot, until the mixture is thick and bubbly.  Remove pot from the heat and stir in the salt and cheese.  Pour the mixture into a lightly oiled 8 X 8 inch baking pan and let it cool to room temperature (this can be prepared the day before and refrigerated).

Turn the cold polenta out onto a cutting board and cut it into four equal squares, then cut each square into two triangles.

Putting it all together:
Prepare a medium-hot fire in an open or covered grill.  If you don’t already have some roasted garlic on hand, place a whole head near the edge of the heat while the fire is getting ready for cooking.  Roast until the outer cloves are quite soft.  Let it cool enough to handle then slice it in half crosswise, squeeze out half of the cloves, and mash them with a fork.

For the fonduta, scrape the white rind off the cheese and cut the cheese into small cubes.  Whisk the cream and garlic together in a skillet over medium heat; bring just to a boil, reduce slightly, and stir in the cheese a little at a time, whisking until smooth.  Keep warm.

Brush the polenta pieces with a little oil and season with salt and pepper.  Grill, starting with the bumpy side down, until heated through and lightly browned, about 3 minutes per side.  As they are done, move them to the edge of the grill to keep them warm, or to warmed plates.  Oil and season the mushroom slices and grill them over the hottest part of the fire until tender and nicely browned, 2 to 4 minutes per side.  To serve, place a piece of polenta on each plate, arrange mushroom slices on top, and spoon the fonduta over all.  Garnish with chives.

Serves 4