Mushrooms with Herbed Polenta

4 tbsp olive oil
4 cups mixed mushrooms, very large ones halved
2 garlic cloves, crushed
1 tbsp chopped tarragon
1 tbsp chopped thyme
1 tbsp truffle oil
Salt and black pepper
2-1/4 cups vegetable stock
1/2 cup polenta (instant or traditional)
3 oz. Parmesan cheese, grated
2-1/2 tbsp butter
1 tsp finely chopped rosemary
1 tbsp chopped chervil
4 oz. Taleggio cheese (rind removed), cut into 3/8″ slices (substitute with Fontina)

Step 1: Heat half the olive oil in a large frying pan over medium-high heat.

Step 2: Once hot, add half of the mushrooms and fry for a few minutes, or until just cooked; try not to move them much so you get golden brown patches on their surface. Remove from the pan, and repeat with the rest of the mushrooms and oil. Off the heat, return all the mushrooms to the pan and add the garlic, tarragon, thyme, truffle oil and some salt and pepper. Keep warm.

Step 3: Bring the stock to the boil in a saucepan. Slowly stir in the polenta, then reduce the heat to the minimum and cook, stirring constantly with a wooden spoon. The polenta is ready when it leaves the sides of the pan but is still runny. If you are using instant polenta this shouldn’t take more than 5 minutes; with traditional polenta it could take up to 50 minutes (if it seems to dry out, add some more stock or water but just enough to keep it at a thick porridge consistency).

Step 4: Preheat the broiler. When the polenta is ready, stir in the Parmesan, butter, rosemary and half the chervil. Season with salt and pepper.

Step 5: Spread the polenta over a heatproof dish and top with the Taleggio. Place under the broiler until the cheese bubbles. Remove, top with the mushrooms and their juices, and return to the broiler for a minute to warm.

Sauteed Shredded Brussels Sprouts with Smoked Ham and Toasted Pecans

2 pounds brussels sprouts
2 tablespoons (1/4 stick) butter
3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
2 1/4-inch-thick slices smoked ham (about 6 ounces), coarsely chopped
1 large garlic clove, minced
2/3 cup low-salt chicken broth
Coarse kosher salt
1/2 cup pecans, toasted, chopped

Trim root ends from brussels sprouts. Using sharp knife or processor fitted with coarse shredding disk, thinly slice brussels sprouts into shreds.

DO AHEAD: Can be prepared 1 day ahead. Cover and chill.

Melt butter with olive oil in large deep skillet over medium heat. Add ham; sauté until golden, about 3 minutes. Add garlic; stir 30 seconds.

Add brussels sprouts and broth; sauté until crisp-tender but still bright green, 3 to 5 minutes. Season with coarse salt and black pepper.

Transfer to serving bowl. Sprinkle with pecans.