by Heather Schmitt-Gonzalez / Friday, September 9, 2011
50 Women Game-Changers (in Food): #14 Elizabeth David - Mushroom Polenta Pie
Going into this week, I didn't know who Elizabeth David was. After poking around a bit, I find her utterly fascinating. If this week hadn't gone by lightning-quick, I probably would have spent some quality time getting to know her. But since I didn't, what I can tell you is: A) she was gorgeous, B) through several marriages and several countries, her passion for cooking "true" food was born, and C) She led a totally colorful personal life that I know will make for some good reading down the line. Read more here.
worth further exploration: (article) Cooking the Book: Do Elizabeth David's recipes stand the test of time?, (film) Elizabeth David: A Life in Recipes, (recipes) BBC site, (books & cookbooks) Is there a Nutmeg in the House? by Elizabeth David, An Omelette and a Glass of Wine by Elizabeth David, English Bread and Yeast Cookery by Elizabeth David, South Wind through the Kitchen: The Best of Elizabeth David, Book of Mediterranean Food by Elizabeth David
Mushroom Polenta Pie
8 oz. (scant 1⅓ c.) polenta
3 c. mushroom stock/mushroom soaking liquid/water
2 oz. butter
2 Tbs. flour
2½ c. warmed milk
freshly ground black or white pepper
freshly grated nutmeg
2 oz. freshly grated parmesan cheese
8 oz. mixed mushrooms (I used shiitake, oyster, crimini, black trumpet)
2 oz. butter
~½ oz. freshly grated parmesan
bechamel: In the meantime, heat the butter and flour to make a loose roux. Cook out for about a minute, then whisk in the milk. Bring to a boil, then reduce to a low simmer. Season, to taste with salt and freshly ground pepper. Grate some nutmeg over the top. Smell the glory that is bechamel. Continue to simmer very slowly for ~13-15 minutes. Remove from heat. Whisk in parmesan cheese.
mushrooms: Wipe any dirt from the mushrooms and cut them into slices. Cook
them for ~3 - 4 minutes in butter.*
Butter a wide shallow cake tin or fireproof dish. Spread ⅓ of the polenta evenly across the bottom of the pan. Scatter ⅓ of the mushrooms evenly over the polenta. Ladle ⅓ of the bechamel over this. Repeat two more times. Grate a bunch of parmesan over the very top of the pie. The second and third layers of polenta are kind of tricky since you can't really "spread" them anymore, per se. What I did was sort of patted out a thin layer and lifted it into place in the pan. It didn't fit tightly like a cap, but it seemed to work.
Slide into a preheated 375° F oven for ~30 minutes until there is a bubbling
golden crust on top of the dish. Serve as is or with a lightly dressed green salad for a totally comforting meal.
used, when in season; which is one way of turning a peasant dish
into a rich feast.
Michiana-based food, drink, and travel writer with a fondness for garlic, freshly baked bread, stinky cheese, single malt Scotch, and Mexican food—who believes that immersing herself in different cultures one bite at a time is the best path to enlightenment.