For the polenta, bring the water to the boil, pour in the polenta in a slow, steady stream, stirring all the time, then lower the heat and leave it to simmer for 10 minutes, stirring frequently, until the mixture leaves the sides of the pan. Meanwhile, lightly oil an 18-cm (6-inch) square shallow tin and line it with a sheet of cling film.
Take the pan of polenta off the heat and stir in the Parmesan, butter and some salt to taste. Pour it into the prepared tin and spread out and press another sheet of cling film on to the surface. Cover and chill for at least 2 hours.
Pre-heat the oven to 200oC/400oF/Gas Mark 6. Remove the top sheet of cling film, turn the polenta out of the tin onto a board, cut into 9 squares, then cut each one diagonally in half into 2 triangles.
Wipe the mushrooms clean, then slice them. Heat the olive oil in a frying pan, add the mushrooms, garlic, thyme and some seasoning and stir-fry over a high heat for 2–3 minutes until the mushrooms are tender and the excess moisture from them has evaporated. Add the cream and leave to bubble for a few seconds until thickened.
Arrange overlapping pieces of the polenta and the mushrooms in 2 lightly buttered, shallow ovenproof dishes. Mix the breadcrumbs with the Parmesan and a little seasoning and sprinkle over the top of each dish. Bake for 25–30 minutes until the tops are crisp and golden. Serve immediately with a salad.
- 225 g (8 oz) mixed mushrooms, such as chestnut and button
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 1 small garlic clove, crushed
- leaves from 1 large sprig of thyme
- 4 tablespoons double cream
- 7 g (1⁄4 oz) fresh white breadcrumbs
- 15 g (1⁄2 oz) finely grated Parmesan cheese
- salt and freshly ground black pepper
- For the polenta
- 450 ml (15 fl oz) water
- 75 g (3 oz) quick-cook polenta
- 25 g (1 oz) Parmesan cheese, finely grated
- 15 g (1⁄2 oz) butter