#ChallengeExtended – Lina Stores Polenta con Funghi

You would think I would have more pictures of something I loved so much!

Last December a friends and I made a little trip to the newly opened Lina Stores restaurant at Kings Cross. I’ve seen mixed reviews online since, but I have to say I loved it. The staff were lovely and very helpful (having arrived early and my friend being delayed due to late trains was no problem at all) the food was amazing. oh and there’s an incredible Italian food shop/deli attached.

Much of the menu was small plates and sharing dishes which we opted for. So many great dishes – but one that stuck in my mind was the polenta with mushrooms. Again, a dish I have thought about a lot over the subsequent months. So it seemed a good candidate for a #challengeextended recreation.

I have one wonky picture and my memory. Sadly it’s not currently on their menu, but I did manage to find an old menu online and it appears simple in terms of its constituent parts.

Polenta. Mushrooms. Parmesan.

What could go wrong? Well a failed attempt on Tuesday to make polenta with sufficient time to firm up enough to fry it, was my problem at the start of the week. Those roasted mushrooms, along with some wine and butter ended up in a rather lovely pasta dish (there’s a picture on Instagram)

So tonight I tried again. I popped into my lovely little local deli, the wonderful AperiDeli on the Caledonian Road and picked up a pre-made polenta block. The consistency is much better for frying so it’s worth seeking out.

The menu description is very simple, but I can’t believe the mushroom are that plain. So after roughly chopping the mushrooms I added a couple of cloves of garlic, some thyme, salt and pepper and a good slug of olive oil before popping in the oven.

I gave the mushrooms about 20 minutes head start and then began preparing the polenta. I sliced a square block (you can cut whatever shape you like, but the original dish had dainty little triangles). I also cut the block through the middle, otherwise the slices are too thick.

These went into a frying pan with some oil. They do spit a little bit so beware. Fry on all sides, so you get a nice crisp layer. They can also be a little fragile, so take care when turning. I’m disappointed I didn’t manage to get the slight browning on the edges like the original but it’s something to work on.

Arrange two triangles on the plate. Take the mushrooms out of the oven and pile a good portion on top of the slices. Give the dish a good grating of Parmesan and a little sprinkle of parsley.

I’m pretty pleased with that – it’s really quite close to the dish we had last year. The best thing was that I managed to recreate the texture of the polenta. It becomes also potato-like in its taste and consistency. It was surprisingly quick too – definitely one to add to the week night repertoire!

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