I have always been of the opinion that nearly everything tastes good fried. Chicken, seafood, vegetables, potatoes, balls of dough--all delicious. At state fairs they're even frying up Snickers bars, lattes (?) and batter-dipped frozen balls of butter. God bless America.
I have the same thoughts about peanut butter. What wouldn't taste better with PB? You could smear peanut butter all over a granite countertop (or linoleum, I'm really not picky) and find me running my finger through it. Wait--I'm off subject. We were talking about fried foods, weren't we. OOH! Fried peanut butter. Someone needs to work on that. I nominate Lauren or Shannon for the job.
Anywho, know what else is good fried? Sage leaves. That's right. I took fresh, lovely herbs and fried them. You should do it too. They were crisp and delicate and were a nice balance to the creamy, cheesy polenta and the slightly chewy wild mushrooms. Plus, they just look cool.
Creamy Polenta with Fried Sage and Roasted Mushrooms
1 3/4 cup water
1 3/4 cup chicken broth
1 tsp minced garlic
3/4 cup polenta
2/3 cup creme fraiche or sour cream
1/4 cup shredded Monterey Jack
1/4 cup grated Parmesan
3 tbsp unsalted butter, melted
1/8 tsp pepper
Preheat oven to 350. Bring water, broth, and garlic to a boil in a large ovenproof saucepan over medium-high heat. Slowly mix in polenta. Reduce heat to medium. Cook 5 minutes, stirring constantly. Cover and place in oven. Bake until thick, but still creamy, stirring occasionally, about 45 minutes. (Add more water if mixture appears dry.)
Heat oil in a small skillet over medium-high heat. Add sage leaves. Fry until crisp, about 10 seconds. Drain on paper towels and season with salt. Set aside.
Top with Roasted Mushrooms:
8 cloves garlic, thinly sliced
3 tbsp olive oil
3 tbsp balsamic or red wine vinegar
3 sprigs fresh rosemary, chopped
3 sprigs fresh thyme, chopped
1 pound fresh wild mushrooms (shiitake, oyster or cremini)
1/4 tsp salt
1/8 tsp black pepper
Combine all ingredients in a bowl, tossing to coat mushrooms thoroughly before arranging them in a single layer on a foil-lined baking sheet. Roast until tender and slightly crisp on the edges.