Daikon Polenta Cakes

October 13, 2010 § 2 Comments

I had a mini Iron Chef-ish session in the kitchen this afternoon; ingredient: Polenta & Shiitake Mushrooms (yes TWO ingredients)!!! The day was a bit hectic with various goings on, so I was only able to do 2 courses. I have to say that I had never eaten or cooked with polenta prior to today. I was eagerly looking into it as a carb substitute. I have over time slowly moved from white rice to whole wheat couscous and am now expanding my horizons to include more gluten-free options, just to keep the diet a bit more balanced (and b/c I get more than my fill of wheat-based flour from my recent tart obsession).

The menu

Daikon Polenta cake

1st course: Daikon Polenta cakes
2nd course: ‘Chick’n’ Piccata over Honey Goat Cheese and Polenta Cake

So, first I must say that the daikon polenta cakes were delicious. The issue needing work on this experimental project of mine is simply finding a way to make the form stiffer so that I can pan fry it with less oil. I think adding a bit of mashed potato may work, although each additional carb added takes away from the flavor!! I will play around with this, and hope to report back with an updated and more presentable version.

Why daikon??
I am obsessed with the daikon rice cakes at the Slanted Door in SF. I generally dislike eating out for various reasons that would warrant a post all on their own, and as a result rarely frequent restaurants. But, if I were to count how many times I’ve dined at Slanted Door it very possibly would be just shy of a three digit number. I go there only to start my meal with the daikon rice cakes. The rest of the meal is a blur I rarely remember or waste stomach space on, but the cakes are first and the cakes I always love!! Now that I’m on this crusade to cook creative and inspired dishes at home I felt it appropriate to take a stab at this favorite dish. I picked up about half a long stalk of daikon radish at the local Asian market this past weekend and in the spur of some moment remembered I had to finish it. So, the polenta staring me in the face was a kind of natural marriage, at least in my warped brain. The pairing was surprisingly pleasant and, texture aside, the difference in flavor was barely noticeable.

Ingredients used in the daikon polenta cake, sans polenta and daikon

This was a true experiment, so I don’t have measurements. Instead I took a picture of the exact ingredients that I used so that if you decide to recreate this, you have somewhat of a roadmap. The cooking method is as follows:

The daikon, this is what half a huge stalk turns into after a quick shred and strain

Sauté the onion, garlic and green chile in an oiled (a substantial amount that will go on to cook the full mixture: daikon, polenta and all) soup pot. Add the shiitake (I saved the tops for the main dish). Let them cook, then follow with the shredded daikon; season w. salt, pepper and liquid aminos. Incorporate the ingredients until the flavors are evenly distributed. Finally add your pre-cooked polenta. Stir until the polenta is smooth and the mixture resembles a creamy mash. Pour the mixture into a wide glass dish and let it cool. When you’re ready to serve, pan fry disced cut outs until crispy, golden brown. 

The 2nd course was straightforward. I used this recipe from Little House of Veggies, and simply served the ‘Chik’n’ Piccata over a pan-fried polenta cake that I slathered with a layer of honey goat cheese (or chèvre as my gracious French tutor from Canada taught me at an italian restaurant in Ferney-Voltaire, the author’s home located on the France/Geneva border, and oh the story behind that…sorry for this digression that could easily go on for pages, but life’s toils mixed with food associations are my great pleasure. Proust’s madeleine episode had just a minor effect on me). Cheers!
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§ 2 Responses to Daikon Polenta Cakes

  • Ivy says:

    Thanks for passing from my blog and giving me the chance to meet you. This is a very creative recipe. I’ve never cooked with polenta before although I know what it is. I must put it in my list to try it.

  • theveggie says:

    Thanks! This was one of those crazy experiments in the kitchen I do from time to time when I get an idea =)

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