16 March 2016

Collier’s Cheddar Polenta with Oyster Mushrooms

Collier’s Cheddar Polenta with Grilled Lettuce & Salsa Verde

Last week I headed down to Wales. Abergavenny to be precise. I was invited down by Collier's (Powerful Welsh Cheddar) and Chef Stephen Terry at The Hardwick.

I've got lots to share but I'll start with a a little bit about Colliers and this recipe for cheesey polenta, which was absolutely amazing.

Collier’s Cheddar Polenta with Grilled Lettuce & Salsa Verde

I'm ashamed as a vegetarian to say I've never cooked polenta before. I do have it sitting in my kitchen in a tub, but I only use it to sit my freshly made pizza bases on before they're popped into the oven to bake. A shameful under-use of this wonderful grain.

Stephen made us polenta fingers with lots of Collier's cheddar and wilted cavolo nero. He served these tasty crisp bites on a bed of grilled lettuce with a drizzle of salsa verde and some sauteed oyster mushrooms. It was heavenly and I was instantly converted. I couldn't believe how easy it was either.





Collier's Powerful Welsh Cheddar

Collier's Powerful Welsh Cheddar has been a favourite in our house for many years. It was the only cheddar on our shopping list for years before it disappeared from the shelves of our local supermarket. I'm pleased to say it's back again and there are now snack packs with individual fingers which are great to tide you over if you're feeling hungry and it's no where near lunch or dinner.

The cheddar stands out on the supermarket shelves with it's striking black packaging and the iconic image of the miner which is in tribute to founder Chris Swire's mining heritage. Miners would often take cheddar sandwiches and apples down the mine for their lunch, but it had to have a kick so they could actually taste it through all that coal dust.

Collier's Powerful Welsh Cheddar founder Chris Swire


While we were in Abergavenny we visited the Big Pit in Blaenafon. The mine is now a World Heritage Site with an excellent simulation you can walk round. You can also wander around the medical areas, lockers and wash rooms, as well as a trip down into the mine itself in the miners lift.

The conditions were grim but the miners were a proud people. Kevin (The Crafty Larder) and I stopped at in indoor market in Abergavenny and heard an elderly gent picking up a miners lamp and talking about wearing it and his time in the mine with such pride.



video

So now you know a bit more about Colliers lets cook with some of their flavourful cheddar. Stephen served the polenta garnished with watercress, tardivo/radicchio/treviso, gem lettuce and friseline which he grilled, but I'll leave you to decide which leaves you use.


print recipe

Collier’s Cheddar Polenta
A simple recipe for crisp cheesey polenta fingers from Chef Stephen Terry.
Ingredients
  • 650 ml water
  • 200g instant polenta
  • 200g grated Collier's Cheddar
  • 50g well-cooked cavolo nero, finely chopped
  • 50g braised outer puntarelle leaf (or other bitter leaves) finely chopped
  • 1 clove of garlic peeled & finely chopped
  • 1 small mild red chilli, finely chopped
  • a small plate of flour for dusting the set polenta
  • 2 tbsp salsa verde
  • 1 tbsp rapeseed oil
  • 150g oyster mushrooms, sliced
  • 1 shallot, peeled and finely sliced
  • 1 small clove of garlic, peeled and finely sliced
  • 1 small bunch flat leaved parsley, chopped
Instructions
1. Place the water in a saucepan and bring to the boil. 2. Add in the polenta, remove from the heat and stir until smooth. 3. Return to a low heat. Add the cavolo nero, puntarelle leaf, garlic & chilli 4. Cook for 5 mins, add the cheddar and cook for a further 5 mins. Add a little crushed sea salt and freshly ground pepper to taste. 5. Pour the polenta into a small tray lined with cling film. Spread out evenly, cover with another sheet of cling film and place in the fridge to cool and set. This will take approximately 3 hours.6. When the polenta has set, remove from the tray and cut into 6 equal portions. 7. Place a heavy frying pan or wok on a high heat and heat the oven to 160°C/140c fan/325f/gas mark 3.8. Lightly coat the set polenta in flour, gently pat off any excess and deep fry until lightly golden brown. Place on a tray and pop into the oven for 8-10 mins. 9. In a separate medium sized frying pan, heat a little oil and put in the sliced oyster mushrooms. Cook for two mins then add the shallot, garlic & parsley. Cook for approximately 5 mins and season with a little salt.10. Cut each polenta ‘cake’ into 3 with a sharp serrated knife and place your choice of grilled salad leaves, then share the oyster mushrooms between the plates. Drizzle with salsa verde and serve.11. Enjoy!
Details
Total time:
(plus 3 hours chilling)
Yield: Serves 6




Disclosure: Collier's invited me down to Wales and paid for my travel and hotel stay. I was not expected to write a positive review and any opinions expressed are my own.

40 comments:

  1. This looks delicious! I would love to visit The Hardwick and try Stephen Terry's cooking. The cheese sounds amazing too! I love a good cheddar

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  2. You should have a visit sometime Jo. The food is amazing.

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  3. Love polenta! It's such a fantastic comfort food!

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    1. I now know it is Rebecca, definitely going to do more with it in future.

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  4. This dish looks really tasty, I am such demon for cheese and strong types are my favourite!

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    1. Yes I like strong flavoured cheese too Sarah. I don't see the point of bland cheddar. Why bother?

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  5. This looks like my kind of comfort food. I love cheese and polenta together and I am always looking for new ways to use polenta.

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    1. Oh good, do try it and let me know what you think Dannii.

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  6. Oh gosh, that looks so good! I LOVE cheesy polenta (though I haven't had it in years). And mushrooms go so well with polenta too! Looks great!

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  7. I love polenta and cook with it quite often, so this recipe appeals. Colliers cheese, butter and other things have made its way into my kitchen the past few months - the major supermarkets seem to be selling them at the moment. I saw Stephen Terry demo once at a food festival, so can't wait to try this recipe.

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  8. Dishes like these make me think meat is not needed in the diary. Cheese and polenta? Lush!

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    1. I'm glad you are leaving this recipe feeling that way Michelle.

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  9. My word, that polenta looks unbelievable! I don't use polenta much either, but you've totally inspired me. I might have a play with it next week - especially if I can use some yummy cheddar too, love Collier's! A proper Welsh cheese :)

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    1. Yes it's a great cheddar and the polenta was lush.

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  10. What a great idea for an unususal meal. I must also start using polenta more.

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    1. It seems like this recipe has inspired a whole heap of people. Happy days.

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  11. I love a good, well planned out polenta dish. This looks wonderful, Jacqueline!

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    1. Thanks Vanessa, but this one is all Stephen's work.

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  12. I love polenta, but I honestly haven't had it in a while! I always forget about it, amongst all the other things in my kitchen :D Thanks for the reminder!

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    1. Haha yes I know what you mean Kat. Hopefully this will tempt you to try it again.

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  13. Polenta is such a fab ingredient... this had reminded me that I need to get some out and cook with it as I haven't for AGES! This is a wonderful recipe and is making me ever so hungry!!!!

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  14. You know, I have never cooked polenta! Yours looks so delicious that I want to give it a try!

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  15. I love polenta but don't cook with it enough. This sounds so so delicious! I would love to try it with a vegan cheese... I'll have to experiment!

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  16. I love polenta, and I could totally make this vegan. Polenta plus mushrooms is a total winner for me. And I loved the story, even though I don't eat cheese. :)

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    1. I am going to try it with vegan cheese too, I think it will be prettty fab.

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  17. It certainly looks beautiful - I don't make polenta often enough - though I have a favourite soft polenta recipe with tomato sauce and cheese on top - I really love the look of the green flecks in this - I have added vegies but sometimes it can be too much and this looks like the right balance

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    1. Oh that does sound good Johanna and yes this was a great combo.

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  18. I've tried polenta only once actually and I'm pretty sure I screwed up gloriously because it tasted awful :D I need to give it another try, this recipe looks to good to give up on polenta for good. I'm intrigued by the leaves you used, I need to see if I can find them here!

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    1. Oh no. Yes don't give up. This is a nice simple recipe.

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  19. I love polenta and I love it especially with mushrooms!!! YUM!

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  20. I'm going through a serious polenta phase at the moment and this looks divine! Thank you!

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    1. Well this is the one for you then Chris.

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  21. Your trip sounds fab Jac as does the polenta. I used to cook with polenta all the time, but for some reason haven't made any for years. I really must get back into it.

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    1. A lot of people seem to have forgotten how good polenta can be.

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I love reading comments, so thank you for taking the time to leave one. Unfortunately, I'm bombarded with spam, so I've turned on comment moderation. I'll publish your comments as soon as I can and respond to them. Don't panic, they will disappear when you hit publish. Jac x