Warm Salad Illinois Style

Cuisine: American

Category: vegetable

Servings: 6


1 pt. water
1/2 cup cornmeal
salt and pepper, to taste
1/2 tbsp. olive oil
1/2 tbsp. peanut oil
1/4 shallot, pared, minced
1/2 tarragon sprig
2 tsp. white wine vinegar
lemon juice, to taste
Dijon-style mustard, to taste
sugar, to taste
3 oz. sour cream
1/2 tsp. tarragon, finely chopped
1 oz. walnut oil
cayenne pepper, to taste
milk, as needed
1 tbsp. clarified butter
6 oyster mushrooms
6 portobellos
6 shiitakes
1 tsp. mixed herbs (parsley, chervil, tarragon),
1/2 tsp. garlic, pared, minced

1 oz. arugula
1 oz. curly endive
1 oz. oak leaf lettuce
2 oz. walnuts, roasted
12 chive stalks, 4 in. long


Heat water to boiling; rain in cornmeal, whisking constantly. Add salt to taste. Reduce heat; cook for 30 minutes or until cooked. Line sheet pan with parchment paper; spread polenta over to 1/2-in. thickness. Smooth top; refrigerate until chilled. Using 4-1/2-in. crescent-shaped cutter, cut crescents from polenta. Refrigerate overnight. Score with hot skewer or on hot grill. Combine olive oil, peanut oil, shallot, tarragon and vinegar; add lemon juice, mustard and sugar. Season with salt and pepper. Cover; let stand overnight. Strain. Combine sour cream and tarragon; whisk in walnut oil. Add lemon juice, salt and cayenne to taste. Stir in milk as needed to reach desired consistency; reserve warm in bain marie. Heat clarified butter in saute pan; add mushrooms. Saute briefly. Stir in herbs and garlic. TO SERVE Heat vinaigrette until warm. Heat polenta crescents until hot. Toss arugula, endive, oak leaf and walnuts together. Center 2-1/2-in. round cookie cutter on warmed plate; arrange tossed salad in. Remove cookie cutter. Dip chive stalks in vinaigrette; use as garnish. Arrange mushrooms to left of salad; place polenta crescent to right. Spoon sour cream sauce below salad. Serve vinaigrette separately.

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