Appetizers,  Main Course,  Recipes,  Reviews

Wild Mushrooms with Polenta, Sun Dried Tomatoes and Goat Cheese

Spring has sprung in Southern California! In one week we’ve gone from rain and chill to sunshine and 90 degrees. It was quite a shock to the system and I suddenly find myself craving lighter food, salads filled with fresh vegetables and meatless meals. This dish fit the bill perfectly, served one night with a glass of chilled Sauvignon Blanc and a small spring salad with a light vinaigrette.

Recently, I was contacted by the nice people at Gourmet Mushrooms who asked if I was interested in trying out some of their organically grown mushrooms. This offer piqued my interest because they had some mushrooms I’ve never tried, nor seen in my local market. A box arrived via FedEx, and surrounded by insulated packaging, was a wicker basket tightly packed with 2 pounds of gorgeous mushrooms.  These mushrooms are certified organic, and while not technically “wild” they are certainly more exotic than the typical button mushroom found in the local supermarket.

Clockwise from top; Maitake Frondosa, Forest Nameko, Trumpet Royale, Alba Clamshell, and Velvet Poppini mushrooms.
  • Maitakes; earthy flavor and beautiful fan shape.  I’ve cooked with these before; check out my recipe for home made pasta with Maitake mushrooms and zucchini blossoms.
  • Forest Nameko; I wasn’t familiar with these mushrooms. That glossy shine you see on the caps is caused by naturally occurring gelatin on the mushroom which is often used to thicken soups. Who knew? 
  • Trumpet Royale; these mushrooms are quite large, with a dense, meaty texture and mild flavor. They have particularly thick stems and I could see slicing and grilling them like Porcini mushrooms.
  • Alba Clamshell mushrooms are pure white with a mild nutty flavor, and firm, even after cooking.
  • Velvet Poppini; these were my favorite. I loved their dark chocolate color which contrasted nicely with the lighter colored mushrooms (meaning, they look pretty on the plate) and their earthy flavor. 

All the mushrooms held up extremely well for almost a week in my refrigerator as I used them in a variety of dishes, including the one featured here. This recipe makes 4 appetizer portions, but two portions made a nice light vegetarian meal for two people. I used some of each type of mushroom from the basket for this recipe, but obviously you can use which ever type you prefer including those not listed here. However, I think a selection of at least three different shapes and flavor profiles of mushroom makes the meal more interesting.

Gourmet Mushrooms has generously offered to send one of these beautiful baskets to one of my readers. All you need to do is leave a comment below letting me know what you’d like to make with the mushrooms. I’ll pick the winner by random number generator and announce it on April 15th. We’d love to see the winner post the the result of what’s made with the mushrooms on the Former Chef Facebook Fan Page and on Gourmet Mushroom’s Fan Page. The contest is open only to a winner with a US shipping address.

And the winnner is…Comment #31 from Erika at Ivory Hut who said,
That is one incredible-looking basket. I LOVE mushrooms. In risotto, soup, sandwiches, with creamy pasta, with steak … Give me some sauteed mushrooms and a bowl of rice, and I’m a happy camper.
Congratulations Erika!

Wild Mushrooms with Polenta, Sundried Tomatoes and Goat Cheese
Printable Recipe in PDF
Polenta Recipe
4 cups water
1 cup polenta (medium to coarse ground corn meal)
1 tsp salt
1 Tbsp fresh herbs, chopped (parsley, oregano, rosemary, etc)
1/4 tsp white pepper
2 Tbsp butter
1 Tbsp Parmesan cheese

Bring water to a boil in a 2 quart pot. Slowly whisk in the polenta, making sure there are no clumps. Turn the heat down to low and cook, stirring frequently with a wooden spoon, for about 30 minutes as the polenta thickens. When cooked, the polenta should have a creamy texture and the corn meal should not be hard. Stir in the butter, Parmesan cheese, herbs, and salt and pepper. Spread in a buttered 9″x13″ pan. Refrigerate until cold and solid, about an hour.

Loosen the polenta with a spatula and invert it onto a cutting board. Cut into 3 1/4″ rounds with a circle cutteror cut into squares with a knife. I got 8 circles out of one sheet of polenta, enough for 4 servings. If you cut it into squares instead, you could probably get 6 portions out of it by cutting it 4×3. Place the cut pieces of polenta on a pan which can go into the broiler. If there are scraps of polenta, reserve for leftovers (see note below).

Note; this polenta can be served creamy as well. If so, add a little more butter and Parmesan and serve as soon as it is finished cooking.

Mushroom Recipe:
1 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil
12 oz mixed mushrooms (about 6 cups sliced)
1 oz sliced shallot
2 Tbsp fresh herbs, chopped (parsley, oregano, rosemary)
1/4 cup sun dried tomatoes, packed in oil (2 oz weight)
2 oz soft goat cheese, crumbled
salt and pepper to taste

Slice the mushrooms if large and separate the ones with the smaller stems and caps into individual pieces.
Drain the sun dried tomatoes from the oil and slice if they are whole. I like using the ones packed in oil because they tend to be softer. If you are using plain dried ones, rehydrate them for a about 15 minutes in a little warm water.
Chop up the fresh herbs. You can use whatever you want. I just used what I had at the time; flat leaf parsley, oregano and a little finely chopped rosemary.
Thinly slice the shallot crosswise.

Heat a large saute pan and add the oil. Add the shallot and saute for 1 minute. Turn up the heat and add the mushrooms, cooking them until they are soft. Keep them moving in the pan so they all get evenly cooked. Toss in the sun dried tomatoes and herbs and combine with the mushrooms. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Turn off the heat.

Slide the pan with the polenta under the broiler and cook until the polenta is heated through, about 4-5 minutes. You can also sear the polenta pieces in a hot pan with a little oil, just take care not to move them too much or they might break.

To assemble the dish:
Using a spatula, place 1 disc of polenta on each plate, or 4 on a platter. Top each piece of polenta with about 1/4 cup of the mushroom mix and a few crumbles of goat cheese. Place another disc on top, then more mushrooms and more goat cheese. Note; there may be some mushrooms left over. I ate these the next day with the leftover polenta scraps (see note below).

Leftover Note:
Since there were pieces of polenta left over from all the sections in between cutting the circles, I could not let it go to waste so I scooped it up and put it in the refrigerator. When I had mushrooms leftover, I realized I had a meal for the next day. I put the polenta scraps in a small baking dish with some marinara sauce, the leftover cooked mushrooms, and a little extra goat cheese. I covered this with foil and baked it for about 20 minutes until it was hot all the way through. It was messy, but sure tasted great!

If you like musrooms, you might also want to try out these other recipes:
Wild Mushroom and Asparagus Risotto
Goat Cheese and Spinach Ravioli with Mushroom Cream Sauce
Pizza with Mushrooms and Home Made Sausage
Hand Cut Pasta with Maitake mushrooms


  • Katie

    I could actually eat all of these simply sauteed with some herbs right out of the saute pan, but I’d love to try a mushroom crostini, maybe with some carmelized onions cooked with a bit of something acidic like balsamic for contrast and a tangy cheese.

    Those polenta circles look FABULOUS!

  • KevinQ

    These look good. I’ve been doing a lot of polenta lately, because it’s so easy.

    I’d probably toss mushrooms in butter and herbs, and a pasta like farfalle or penne.


  • Valerie

    We love mushrooms with almost anything at my house. I can see using some in a stir fry, sauteeing some as their own dish, and I’d have to go on a search for other mushroom-centric recipes to feature them! Would love to try out those new varieties.

  • Lisa

    Your dish looks amazing! I’d love to recreate your dish with the mushrooms and with the leftovers make a pasta dish with spring veggies and mascarpone or a mushroom risotto with beef stock and lots of sharp cheese. Yum!

  • Myra

    I hated mushrooms as a kid, and have avoided cooking them as an adult. But, my husband loves them. If I were to receive that lovely basket I’d face my mushroom phobia, and make your recipe for my family.

  • Joshua

    Myra, I hope this helps you get over your phobia, even if you don’t get the gift basket. Maybe you will even discover that you actually like mushrooms! Cheers

  • Fanny Farkas

    What a lovely recipe. I would make a soup of the mushrooms or a sauce to go with sauteed medallions of pork tenderloin. Or perhaps sauteed with parsley and onions and served as a side dish with filet of sole or another flat fish.

  • Noelle

    Ooh, YUM! Those mushrooms look awesome, and I’d love to do something similar (or the exact same!) as you have listed.

    I could probably eat the mushrooms alone. They’re GORGEOUS!

  • Cheryl Ross

    It’s a toss up between Glazed Rosemary Honey Mushrooms and your Wild Mushrooms with Polenta, Sundried Tomatoes and Goat Cheese. Your recipe, and the mushroom basket look wonderful

  • Suzanne

    Not a polenta fan, but the rest looks fabulous. Even though it’s now spring in SoCal, I’d probably try a mushroom soup, which is one of my favorite ways to have mushrooms. I’d even save up my WeightWatcher points and spring for cream! My husband isn’t a mushroom fan, so more for me – I’d use the rest in frittatas, risotto, and maybe a polenta-free variation on your recipe.

  • Padi Selwyn

    All those various mushrooms sauteed with chicken and artichoke hearts or asparagus tips would be a lovely spring meal.

  • Zehra

    OMG…I cannot wait to try this recipe out! I love mushrooms with a crazy passion…not sure where it came from but I eat them in all forms. I am totally going to make a wile mushroom risotto with the mushrooms if I get them! I have made risotto only once before and am trying to perfect it and these would make it ROCK!

  • Sakina Rizvi

    Definitely this recipe for a mushroom/cheese/day old bread concoction from a foodie’s blog (figured everyone would be interested in seeing it so pasting it here):
    2 Tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
    8 ounces mixed MYCOPIA mushrooms, or single variety* – chopped
    3 Tablespoons chopped shallot
    1/2 teaspoon dried thyme
    1 Tablespoon fresh chopped sage
    a dash of Worcestershire sauce
    1/8 teaspoon of nutmeg
    1/2 teaspoon salt
    1/4 teaspoon pepper
    4 large eggs
    1 1/2 cups half and half
    1 1/2 cups mixed grated gouda and romano
    about 3 1/2 cups cubed firm bread (day old is better)

    Usually I use a mix of Trumpet Royale and Velvet Pioppini mushroom, but this time I used Matiake Frondosa all by itself. For the cheeses, I used half Gouda and half Wisconsin romano. This particular romano wasn’t too salty. If your romano tastes very salty, reduce the salt in the recipe to 1/4 teaspoon.

    Saute the mushrooms and shallot in the olive oil, then add the herbs and toss with the cubed bread and grated cheeses. Whisk together eggs, half and half and the other seasonings and pour over the mushrooms, bread and cheeses.

    Now for the Chef’s important hints. (1.) Day old bread really is better. I had fresh bread so I sliced it and dried it in a 250 degree oven for about 20 minutes before cubing it. (2.) Let the mixture sit in the bowl for a good 20 minutes before baking. Stir it a couple of times. By the time you put it into a well-greased 8 x 8 inch baking dish, all the custard should be absorbed into the bread. This makes a HUGE difference. DEELISH!

  • Lcuy

    I’d make either a simple mushroom alfredo or what I call my mushrom pie- kind of like a chicken pot pie, but with mushroom, sundried tomatoes, onions and various other veggies, in a creamy sauce and covered with a pastry top.

  • Ryna

    Those mushrooms look amazing! I’d cook them simply-just saute them in butter and a bit of garlic, and finish them with a tiny splash of sherry and cream. Served with crackers.

  • Akila

    Wow – those mushrooms look amazing. I would saute them in golden butter with a light sprinkling of salt and layer them on top of a rosemary risotto. Mushrooms like these deserve to be pampered!

  • Lisa

    Those are seriously attractive fungi… I’d be tempted to make some vegan mushroom sandwiches, or some mini pizzas w/ just mushroom topping, to taste the different flavors of each type.

  • Erika

    That is one incredible-looking basket. I LOVE mushrooms. In risotto, soup, sandwiches, with creamy pasta, with steak … Give me some sauteed mushrooms and a bowl of rice, and I’m a happy camper.

  • Mosaica

    Your dish looks lovely, and it’s now in my queue. I think I’d also like to make a cassoulet with smoked trout (which I both catch & smoke), new fingerling potatoes, and a jumble of these wild mushrooms. Mm!

  • Delia Hernandez

    It’s hard to choose what to do with this lovely basket of Fungi! I would love to try my hand at a Mushroom Melody Soup and make another Mushroom Melody Vegan Pizza. I also use them as a main course meal when I saute’ them with garlic. *day dreams

  • Annapet

    OMG, mushrooms pizza on a super thin crust, topped with baby arugula. Spring has awakened me. You’re going to make me daydream of mushrooms all weekend long.

  • Noni Nimer

    This recipe sounds amazing, I cannot wait to make it. If I had that basket of mushrooms I would probably make a pasta dish with loads of mushrooms in it or just as a side dish by themselves. Or both! My husband and I love mushrooms and would be in heaven if we won this.

  • Ann Grismore

    I’m excited to try this recipe! I haven’t had mushrooms with polenta yet but I really enjoy a mushroom risotto or just mushrooms simply sauteed and served with a peice of warm sourdough bread and a glass of wine.

  • Jessica Bise

    well it’s been awhile since I have used mushrooms, when on a tight budget it’s kinda a luxury. But I have an amazing recipe from my mom for stuffed mushrooms in red wine, I can’t keep them on the table when I do make them….it’s soooo easy and sooo yummy (if counting calories this dish is NOT for you!!) then I would love to saute some to make chicken covered in mushrooms and sauce. They are always excellent in a salad as well. I also like a previous recipe I saw here on the comments for the day old bread!!! YUMMERS so maybe find a mushroom cheese bread to go with som chicken noodle soup….okay it’s early and typing all of this is making my tummy growl. I hope this is what you were thinking when you wanted suggestions on what to do with the mushrooms….thanks for this opportunity

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