This Fried Polenta with Creamy Mushroom Sauce is rich, decadent and ooh so dreamy. Perfect for a romantic date night dinner, I created this recipe for a client. She had a similar dish at a Portland restaurant and wanted the recipe to make at home. After some research, a photo and a few questions about the sauce, the recipe was born. This recipe easy to follow, and the ingredients are easy to find.
Serve this up as a nice appetizer for a 3 course meal, or as the main dish.
Date night winner!
The polenta is delicately fried with a crispy crust and creamy, cheesy inside. The mushroom sauce is hearty, yet light and creamy. The addition of wine and lemon add a light freshness to the sauce that balance the mushrooms and cream nicely.
Ingredients You'll Need
Cooled, creamy polenta, made in advance, shaped. Get the Creamy Polenta recipe.
Olive Oil, for frying
All-Purpose Flour or sub with gluten free flour, if desired
Meyer Lemon Olive Oil (not a affiliate, just love their olive oils) or Olive Oil + Lemon Zest
White Button or Crimini Mushrooms
Dry White Wine such as Sauvignon blanc or Chardonnay
Chicken or Veggie Stock/Broth
Mascarpone or Cream Cheese. Mascarpone will add a little more richness to the dish but cream cheese tasted just as good.
Parmesan Cheese, finely grated
Speciality Ingredient Substitutions
Meyer Lemon Olive Oil - I find the lemon flavored olive oil makes this dish extra special. If you don't have it on hand simply substitute with extra virgin olive oil + grated lemon zest.
Mascarpone Cheese - Oh the Italian cream cheese. I love this product but it can be pricy and hard to find. Honestly, regular cream cheese does the job just as well and is easy to find.
Dry White Wine - This is one of the defining flavors of the dish, so choose a wine you would drink. If you don't drink wine, use ¾ cup stock and add 1-2 tablespoons of white wine vinegar.
Preparation Tips + Tricks
You can buy pre-made polenta in a tube....but it really lacks flavor to me. If you want to make this dish extra special, make the creamy polenta the night before.
Grate the parmesan cheese fresh with a microplane (affiliate link), so that the cheese easily melts into the sauce.
Season and rest the finished polenta on a cooling rack. If you cool the polenta on a plate or cutting board, the bottom side may lose that crispy crust.
I don't recommend keeping the polenta warm in the oven. The polenta crust will get soft and you'll lose the crispy exterior. If you need to reheat the polenta, heat them same in the pan for another minute per side.
Wine Pairing Suggestions
A few great varietals of wine to serve with this dish:
Chardonnay - There are 2 styles of Chardonnay: light and crisp or buttery. The lemon and the cream in the sauce and the polenta itself make a great pairing with Chardonnay. Both styles would pair perfectly with with dish.
Pinot Noir - This light - medium bodied red wine often has flavors of subtle spice, with a hint of either cherries, strawberries or raspberries. Pinot Noir is also a little bit earthy which makes this wine a great pairing for this mushroom-based dish.
Pan Fried Polenta with Creamy Mushroom Sauce
For the Fried Polenta
- 1 4x8 inch strip Creamy Polenta cooled + set
- ½ Cup All-Purpose Flour sub gluten free flour to make gluten free
- ¼ Cup Olive Oil for frying
- Salt to taste
For the Creamy Mushroom Sauce
- 2 Tbsp Meyer Lemon Olive Oil or 2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil + 1 tsp lemon zest
- 1 Shallot minced
- 1 Clove Garlic minced
- 2 Cups White Mushrooms sliced
- ½ Cup Dry White Wine such as sauvignon blanc
- ¼ Cup Chicken or Vegetable Stock
- 2 Oz Mascarpone or Cream Cheese
- ½ Cup Parmesan Reggiano fresh grated, fine + more to garnish
- 2 Tbsp Heavy Cream
- Fresh Parsley chopped, to garnish
- ½ tsp salt or more, to taste
To Make the Fried Polenta
- Carefully remove the cooled polenta from the baking dish and place on a cutting board. Use a butter knife and gently release the polenta from the edge of the dish if needed.
- Slice a strip about 4 inches wide and 8 inches long. Cut that strip in ½ to make 4x4 inch squares. Cut the squares in ½ on the diagonal to make a triangle.
- Carefully coat the top and bottom of the polenta triangles in flour. Try not to get the sides of the polenta covered in flour.
- Preheat a frying pan or cast iron skillet over medium heat, add the olive oil.
- While the polenta is frying, start the mushroom sauce.
- Once the oil is hot, add the polenta triangles, bottom side in the oil. Cook 5 minutes or until golden brown and releases easily from the pan. Flip the polenta triangle over and cook the top side for 4-5 minutes or until golden brown and crispy.
- Remove from pan and set on a cooling rack over a baking sheet (this will keep the polenta crispy) season with salt.
To Make the Mushroom Cream Sauce
- In a saute pan over medium - high heat add: the lemon olive oil and minced shallots. Saute 3 - 5 minutes or until translucent, stirring occasionally. Add the mushrooms and saute until soft, about 5- 7 minutes, stirring occasionally. Turn down the heat to medium if needed.
- Stir in garlic and salt, then deglaze the pan with wine and allow to simmer for 3 minutes to remove the alcohol. Add the chicken stock and reduce 3 -5 more minutes.
- Stir in the mascarpone or cream cheese and allow to melt, about 2 mins.
- Stir the parmesan cheese and heavy cream until melted.
- Taste and adjust seasoning as needed. Does it need more salt? More Lemon?
- Place 2 polenta triangles on a plate, spoon the mushroom sauce to cover, sprinkle with chopped parsley and grated parmesan and serve!