Yes, dips and crudité platters are the go-to appetizer for a barbecue dinner, but try stretching your repertoire by showcasing woodsy, buttery mushrooms on crisp polenta. Their warm, rich flavours will be the perfect set-up for whatever juicy meat’s being thrown on the grill. Leftover mushrooms can be served with your Porterhouse or burger.
To make about 20 portions, slice one 510g pack of precooked polenta (it comes in a tube shape) into 1/2” rounds. From each round, cut a 1 1/2 inch circle using a cookie cutter. In a medium pan melt 1 tablespoon unsalted butter over med-high. When it stops foaming, fry the polenta rounds on each side until crispy and browned. Place them on a cooling rack. In the same pan, add 1 tbsp unsalted butter over high heat. Wait for the butter to stop foaming and add 200g sliced mushrooms (oyster, chanterelle, shiitake). Allow the mushrooms to cook without tossing unnecessarily, you want them to maintain pan contact long enough to brown. Add more butter if the pan is getting dry and flip the mushrooms. Once browned and crisp, remove from heat. To assemble: Place a piece of shaved Grana Padano on the polenta and top with the a couple warm mushrooms and some fresh tarragon.
Tip: The polenta scraps can make a quick dinner by chopping into cubes, and pan-frying with some eggs and veggies.