If you are a soup maker, consider saving your porcini soaking water for soups. Simply pour the liquid through a fine mesh sieve or coffee filter, then place in a tightly covered container and freeze until you wish to add some full flavored woodsy goodness to a batch of beef barley soup.
Makes:8 to 12 appetizer servings; 4 to 6 side-dish servings
Grilled Polenta with Mushrooms
In a medium bowl pour enough boiling water over porcini mushrooms to cover. Let stand for 45 minutes or until soft. Drain mushrooms, discarding water. Rinse well under running water. Pat mushrooms dry with paper towels; chop coarsely. Set aside.
Tear off a 44x18-inch piece of heavy-duty foil; fold in half to make a 22x18-inch rectangle. In a large bowl combine porcini mushrooms, cremini mushrooms, tomatoes, oil, wine, parsley, thyme, garlic, salt, and pepper; spoon mixture into center of foil. Bring up two opposite edges of foil and seal with a double fold. Fold remaining edges together to completely enclose mushrooms, leaving space for steam to build.
For a charcoal or gas grill, place foil packet on the grill rack. Cover and grill for 20 minutes, turning once halfway through grilling. Serve hot mushroom mixture over Grilled Polenta.
Grease a 15x10x1-inch baking pan; set aside. In a large saucepan bring water, milk, salt, and Italian seasoning to boiling. Add polenta in a slow, steady stream, stirring constantly. Cook and stir for 5 minutes or until polenta is thick. Stir in Parmesan cheese. Pour into prepared pan, spreading evenly with a wet spatula. Cool for 15 minutes. Cover and chill for at least 2 hours or up to 24 hours.
Cut polenta into serving-size pieces. Brush both sides of pieces with oil. For a charcoal or gas grill, lightly grease grill rack. Place polenta on grill rack next to mushroom packet. Cover and grill directly over medium-high heat for 10 minutes or until grill marks form and polenta is brown and crispy, turning once halfway through grilling.