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Bocconcini three ways

Ingredients

Roasted tomatoes:

  • 2 cups cherry tomatoes
  • 2 shallots, peeled and sliced
  • 4 sprigs thyme
  • 4 garlic cloves
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1/4 teaspoon sea salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon pepper

Seared mushrooms:

  • 2 to 3 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon butter
  • 16 button mushrooms, halved if large
  • 10 cremini mushrooms, sliced
  • 10 oyster mushrooms, roughly torn
  • 1/2 teaspoon sea salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon pepper
  • 2 tablespoons red-wine vinegar

Bocconcini crisps:

  • 2 Tre Stelle Bocconcini, thinly sliced

Polenta:

  • 4 cups chicken broth
  • 1 cup medium ground yellow cornmeal
  • 4 Tre Stelle Bocconcini, finely chopped
  • 2 tablespoons butter

Fried bocconcini:

  • 1/2 cup all-purpose flour
  • 2 eggs, beaten
  • 1 cup panko breadcrumbs
  • 1/2 teaspoon sea salt
  • 12 Tre Stelle Bocconcini
  • Canola oil, for frying

Garnish:

  • 1/4 cup chopped fresh parsley

Directions

  1. Make the roasted tomatoes: Preheat your oven to 400°F. Toss tomatoes with shallots, thyme, garlic, oil, salt and pepper on a rimmed baking sheet. Roast for 15 minutes. Stir, then continue roasting until tomatoes have softened and are beginning to blister, about ten more minutes.
  2. Make the seared mushrooms: Meanwhile, heat a large non-stick frying pan over medium-high heat. Add oil and butter, then mushrooms, salt and pepper. Cook, stirring occasionally, until mushrooms have released their juices and are golden, 10 to 12 minutes. Add vinegar. Cook, stirring, until liquid has evaporated, one to two more minutes. Transfer to a bowl. Cover to keep warm. Wipe pan clean.
  3. Make the bocconcini crisps: Heat same frying pan over medium-high heat. Add sliced bocconcini in a single layer in pan. Allow to melt and cook until golden and crispy, about three to four minutes. Transfer to a plate to cool and harden. Cut or break into rough shards. Set aside.
  4. Make the polenta: Bring chicken broth to a simmer in a pot over medium heat. Gradually add polenta, whisking constantly, until the mixture starts to thicken, about five minutes. Reduce heat to low. Continue to cook, stirring often, until polenta is creamy and tender, about 30 minutes. Remove from heat, then stir in bocconcini and butter until cheese is melted. Cover to keep warm.
  5. Make the fried bocconcini: Line a large plate with a paper towel. Place each flour, eggs and panko into separate shallow dishes. Stir salt into flour. Roll bocconcini in flour mixture, then dip in egg, then coat completely in panko. 
  6. Pour enough oil into a large heavy-bottomed pot to reach 1-1/2-inches up the sides. Clip a deep-fry thermometer to the side. Heat over medium until temperature reaches 350°F. Add bocconcini. Fry until golden, about three minutes. Transfer to prepared plate to drain excess oil.
  7. To assemble, spoon a layer of polenta onto four plates, then top with tomatoes, mushrooms, and three fried bocconcini balls. Tuck bocconcini crisps between fried balls. Sprinkle with parsley before serving.
  8. Tip: This recipe requires two 200-g tubs of Tre Stelle Bocconcini.
  9. Tip: You can also use a deep fryer to make the fried bocconcini. Follow manufacturer's instructions.


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