polenta redux

By on Oct 2, 2011 in dinner, for one, love | 0 comments

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It was a Tuesday with a solo diner. It would be all to easy to heat up a bowl of canned soup, pour it into a bowl, and squash into the couch, mindlessly slurping while watching reruns of shows already seen and deemed not that great. But why? Even the solo diner deserves the respect of a little plating. On the bottom shelf of the refrigerator lies a beautiful chilled dish of polenta, the leftovers of the evening previous. A few mushrooms still roost in a paper bag, a shallot with dirt from the field still clinging to it sleeps quietly amongst the onions and potatoes in the bottom-most drawer. And in the door sits a half-drunk bottle of white wine, singing of its quiet bubbles. A few triangles of polenta are cut out, lightly bathed in olive oil, and stuck under a low broiler, where the flickering blue flames warm the slices and crisp the top. The shallot is swiftly peeled and wedged and tossed into a skillet with more olive oil, the mushrooms washed and cut into carefree thick slices which soon join the softening shallot. A sprinkling of salt and a grind of pepper go over all, and the weary cook lazily stirs with one hand while the mushrooms slowly brown, drinks a glass of wine with the other, and contemplates absolutely nothing. Before the glass of wine is even drained, everything is done. The faintly sizzling polenta squares emerge from the broiler, their color deepened a few notches with warm brown beauty marks adorning them. They get stacked in a neat pinwheel on the plate. A quick splash of wine gets added to the mushrooms and shallot, a quick blast of heat to cook it down a hair, and the fungal mix is scooped over the center of the polenta pinwheel, the excess tumbling down the sides. A few grates of parmesan, a twist of black pepper, another fresh pour of white wine into the glass, and dinner is served. Tuesday night is a very good night indeed.


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