Tag Archives: polenta

Slumber Party: Seared Sea Scallops on Bacon Polenta Topped with Chanterelles

Seared Sea Scallops on a bed of Bacon Polenta Topped with Chanterelles

When and why did we ladies ever stop having sleepovers? They are a brilliant invention:

  1. Feigning to be wearing PJs, you can show up in stretch pants and thereby begin the evening already with an elastic waistband.
  2. You don’t need to pretend that you have any self control since no one has to drive so you can consume as much wine as you possibly can.
  3. The next morning you all get to wake up, relive the funnier moments of the evening (“Remember when Liesel told her adorable little dog that was just sitting there to ‘Shut Your Face!'”), and then enjoy a boozie brunch, while still wearing said stretch pants.

Yes, they are a brilliant invention indeed and I intend to bring them back. Hold onto your hats ladies, this could get wild.


These scallops were not slumber party fare, but I did make them a few nights ago and they are out of this world. I had something similar at Matt’s in the Market a few months back (Sea Scallops, Bacon Grits, Chanterelle Mushrooms, Fried Leeks) and was determined to recreate it ever since. This was pretty damn close and just as delicious. It isn’t inexpensive to make because the scallops and chanterelles can be a bit pricey, but it’s definitely worth the splurge and a great dish to make if you want to really impress your guests.

Seared Sea Scallops on Bacon Polenta Topped with Chanterelles

Serve with a white wine such as Tru’s Chardonnay which was perfect with it.

Serves 4 as a main

1 lb dry Sea Scallops (always get dry if you can…”wet” scallops have been treated with a solution called STP (sodium tripolyphosphate) which is gross for lots of reasons.)

1/2 lb chanterelle mushrooms, wiped clean with a damp paper towel and coarsely chopped

6 TB Butter

Splash of dry white wine

1 tsp lemon juice

1/2 cup finely chopped onions

2 cups chicken stock

2 cups water

1 cup yellow cornmeal

4 slices bacon, cooked and coarsely crumbled

1/2 cup grated Pecorino Cheese (Parmesan or cheddar would also work)

  1. To get as much moisture out of the scallops as possible, set on a paper towel and set aside.
  2. In a large, non-stick skillet melt 2 TB butter and add the chanterelles. Cook on low, stirring occasionally until tender, throw in the wine and lemon juice and stir until evaporated, keep on low to keep warm and give it a stir every now and then. Try and resist the temptation to eat the mushrooms right out of the pan.
  3. Meanwhile, in a large saucepan over medium heat melt 3 TB butter. Add the onions and cook, stirring, until translucent, about 5 minutes. Stir in and bring to a boil 2 cups chicken stock and 1 cup water. Stir together remaining 1 cup water and 1 cup cornmeal. Gradually add the cornmeal mixture to the boiling water, reduce the heat to low, and cook stirring constantly with a wooden spoon, until the cornmeal is very thick and leaves the side of the pan as it is stirred, about 20 minutes. Add in bacon and cheese, and stir until combined. Put the pan top on and remove from heat.
  4. In a cast iron skillet melt the remaining butter until very hot (nearly smoking), add the scallops, being careful not to crowd the pan (cook in batches if necessary) and cook until carmelized and golden, but not rubbery, about 3-4 minutes if you’ve got your pan hot enough.
  5. Plate the polenta, add the chanterelles, and top with the seared scallops.
  6. Voila!


Filed under Entertaining, Seafood

Small Triumphs: Polenta Gratin with Kale and Cremini Mushrooms

First of all…wow! Thank you all for the support, encouragement, comments, and words of wisdom. “I’m not writing in a vacuum! There are people out there! Hooray!” Thanks to you all, Old Spice Man generated more hits in one day than any other post, save for when Food & Wine re-tweeted my Short Ribs (which I was embarrassingly excited about.)

But enough whining and philosophizing about The Writer’s Process…let’s get back to the food. And damn good food at that.  This year we had the pleasure of participating in Hand-Farmed Organic‘s first community supported agriculture (CSA) project. We signed up for a half-share, which proved to be plenty for two of us, so every other week Casey would drop by our house at the end of the day and deliver a wax covered cardboard box brimming with beautiful vegetables. Perhaps the only one more excited about its arrival than I, was this guy, who proved to be a veritable vegetable lover.

Happy Dog

His Royal Highness, the Duke of Tacoma, 10 mos old

Duke would eat just about anything…carrots, squash, and what quickly became his favorite…the radishes which he would bat around the house, sneak up on, and dive bomb from the top of the stairs until it rolled under the couch at which point he would flop down and look at his lost treasure beseechingly until Matt or I caved and got it back out for him.

In each and every box there were delicious fruits and vegetables…and then there was the kale. The freaking kale that just kept coming and coming and always seemed more bountiful and plentiful than the week before. I tried making Kale Chips like my friend Karla, but they weren’t nearly as good as hers…I made a Kale and Gruyere Frittata, but there’s only so many of those you can eat, and once or twice I guiltily yard-wasted the kale when the new box arrived and I still hadn’t done anything with it.

Up until last night it was Kale: 10, Erina: 0.

Photo Compliments of handfarmedorganics.com

Until last night, when trying to think of a starch I could make for our friend CJ who is wheat intolerant I stumbled across a polenta and spinach gratin. I love all gratins (I mean, what’s not to love, creamy unhealthy deliciousness), and thought there’s no reason I couldn’t substitute kale for spinach.

It was outstanding. The polenta in the tube couldn’t be easier, and the recipe calls for 8 cups of Kale, which totally cleaned out my supply and rendered me obnoxiously triumphant.

The perfect side to a yummy fall dinner.

Polenta Gratin with Kale and Cremini Mushrooms
Adapted from Food & Wine
Serves 4-6

2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil

12 ounces sliced cremini mushrooms (5 cups)

1 large shallot, minced

8 cups kale, center stems removed, washed, dried, and coarsely chopped

Salt and freshly ground pepper

1 tablespoon unsalted butter

1 tablespoon all-purpose flour (I used rice flour)

3/4 cup beef stock (or vegetable stock)

1/2 cup whipping cream

Pinch of freshly grated nutmeg

One 18-ounce log of prepared polenta, cut into 1/4-inch slices

3 ounces Gruyère cheese, shredded (1 cup)

Preheat the oven to 350°. In a large nonstick skillet, heat the olive oil. Add the mushrooms and cook over high heat, stirring occasionally, until lightly browned, about 6 minutes. Add the shallot and cook over moderately low heat for 3 minutes. Add the kale and cook over high heat until the kale has wilted, about 2 minutes. Season with salt and pepper. Spread the kale and mushrooms evenly in a 2-quart baking dish.

In a small saucepan, melt the butter. Whisk in the flour over moderately high heat. Add the stock, cream, and nutmeg and whisk until thickened, about 10 minutes. Season lightly with salt and pepper and pour over the kale. Arrange the polenta slices on top of the kale in overlapping concentric circles, pressing to submerge the polenta slightly. Sprinkle the Gruyère on the polenta, cover with foil and bake for 40 minutes.

Preheat the broiler. Uncover the polenta and broil 6 inches from the heat for about 2 minutes, or until golden. Let stand for 10 minutes before serving.

 Make Ahead The unbaked gratin can be refrigerated overnight.




Filed under Comfort Foods, Entertaining, Make ahead, Seasonal Cooking, Uncategorized, Vegetarian