Portabello mushrooms with Parmesan polenta


Piled onto a mound of buttery, cheesy polenta and topped with crispy shallots, these silky mushrooms are an impressive, crowd-pleasing comfort food. Celebrate fabulous fungi in all its flavoursome, health-giving glory.

Wellbeing Wisdom

  • Mushrooms are a great source of vitamin D, and new studies suggest they have brain-boosting properties.
  • Keeping mushrooms up-turned on a sunny windowsill enables them to produce even more vitamin D.


  • 180g polenta
  • 1 tbsp chilli flakes
  • 50g butter
  • 40g Parmesan or Grana Padano, grated
  • Rapeseed or sunflower oil for frying
  • 1 banana shallot, very finely sliced
  • 1-2 tbsp cornflour
  • 400g Portabello mushrooms (Porcini also work well here)
  • A handful of curly parsley, chopped
  • 1 lemon, zest
  • Sea salt and black pepper

For the garlic oil

  • 100ml olive oil
  • 2 cloves of garlic, grated or crushed
  • 1 tsp raw cider vinegar


  1. Make the garlic oil by heating the olive oil in a tiny saucepan and adding the garlic. Heat until the garlic has been bubbling energetically for about 30 seconds then add the vinegar and leave to cool. You can make this the day ahead if you like and it will keep for a day after, so you can use it to make a tomato pasta sauce or the like.
  2. Bring the water to the boil in a large saucepan and add a teaspoon of salt. Pour in the polenta and whisk until smooth. Add the chilli flakes
  3. Turn the heat down to a gentle bubbling. Stir occasionally with the whisk for 8-10 minutes until it cooks. Beat in the . butter and cheese and set aside. You will need to loosen the polenta with a little boiling water just before serving as it thickens and starts to solidify over time.
  4. Heat a heavy-bottomed small saucepan with 3cm rapeseed or sunflower oil. Toss the shallots in a bowl with some cornflour, separating the rings. Gently lower some into the hot oil (cooking in batches otherwise they won’t crisp) and cook for a few minutes until they just start to colour, turning them halfway through. Drain on to kitchen paper and leave to cool.
  5. Thickly slice or halve the mushrooms and toss them with a little oil and salt in a bowl. Heat the griddle pan until smoking and cook the mushrooms on each side until golden and well lined from the pan. Drain on kitchen paper.
  6. Loosen the polenta if needed until it’s velvety soft, and divide between four plates. Top with the mushrooms, add the shallots and a good sprinkle of parsley on each. Season well with a twist of pepper and some more chilli flakes, then drizzle over a little of the garlic oil. Grate the lemon zest over each just before serving.