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Polenta Taragna Cakes with Chef’s Reserve Caviar and Chamomile

The earthy bitterness of buckwheat flour and polenta integrale combines with the rich salinity of our specially cured Jordan Chef’s Reserve Caviar to create a beautiful wine and food pairing for Jordan Chardonnay. The simple base of polenta taragna cakes fried in extra virgin olive oil brings an additional texture to this Chardonnay appetizer recipe, while the fresh chamomile brings the element of spring that everyone has been waiting for.

Ingredients

  • 12 polenta taragna cakes

  • 2 oz Jordan Chef’s Reserve Caviar

  • 2 Tbsp fresh Meyer lemon oil

  • ¼ cup fresh chamomile blossoms and new shoots

  • Fresh lemon juice, for garnish

For the polenta taragna cakes

  • 3½ cups vegetable stock or water

  • ⅔ Anson Mills polenta integrale

  • ⅓ cup stone ground buckwheat flour

  • 1 Tbsp fennel pollen

  • 2 Tbsp Jordan Extra Virgin Olive Oil

  • ¾ cup whole milk

  • 3 Tbsp crème fraîche

  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste

For the fresh Meyer lemon oil

  • 1 cup Jordan Extra Virgin Olive Oil

  • 10 Meyer Lemons, finely zested or microplaned

  • ½ cup lemon verbena (lemon blossoms or new lemon leaves may be substituted)

  • 10 sprigs lemon thyme

  • 2 Tbsp coriander, toasted and crushed

For the whipped crème fraîche

  • ½ cup heavy whipping cream

  • ½ cup crème fraîche

  • ½ tsp fine sea salt

Ingredients

  • 12 polenta taragna cakes

  • 2 oz Jordan Chef’s Reserve Caviar

  • 2 Tbsp fresh Meyer lemon oil

  • ¼ cup fresh chamomile blossoms and new shoots

  • Fresh lemon juice, for garnish

For the polenta taragna cakes

  • 3½ cups vegetable stock or water

  • ⅔ Anson Mills polenta integrale

  • ⅓ cup stone ground buckwheat flour

  • 1 Tbsp fennel pollen

  • 2 Tbsp Jordan Extra Virgin Olive Oil

  • ¾ cup whole milk

  • 3 Tbsp crème fraîche

  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste

For the fresh Meyer lemon oil

  • 1 cup Jordan Extra Virgin Olive Oil

  • 10 Meyer Lemons, finely zested or microplaned

  • ½ cup lemon verbena (lemon blossoms or new lemon leaves may be substituted)

  • 10 sprigs lemon thyme

  • 2 Tbsp coriander, toasted and crushed

For the whipped crème fraîche

  • ½ cup heavy whipping cream

  • ½ cup crème fraîche

  • ½ tsp fine sea salt

Instructions

yields 12 pieces

For the polenta taragna cakes, lightly oil a 7 x 7 glass baking dish and set aside. Bring seasoned vegetable stock or water to a boil in a medium sauce pan over high heat. Whisk in polenta, then buckwheat flour and fennel pollen. Continue to whisk until a simmer. Lower the heat and stir occasionally with a wooden spoon to prevent scorching and ensure even cooking. Cook until polenta is fully done (45-50 minutes). Remove pot from the heat and fold in olive oil, milk and crème fraîche. Check for seasoning, then pour mixture into the baking dish and refrigerate until set (overnight is recommended). This step may be done the day prior.

To make the fresh Meyer lemon oil, combine all ingredients in a 1 gallon freezer Ziploc bag. Force as much air from the bag as possible and seal. Roll the bag gently between your hands to release the essential oils from the aromatics. Allow the oil to rest at room temperature for 24 hours, massaging the bag periodically. Strain oil through a fine mesh strainer or cheesecloth into a sterile mason jar. Store under refrigeration. The oil will retain vibrancy for up to one month.

For the whipped crème fraîche, combine all ingredients and pour into an isi canister and charge. Shake the canister 4 to 5 times before dispensing. Whipped crème fraîche will keep up to two weeks under refrigeration. An electric mixer or whipping the ingredients by hand are other options.

When ready to serve, remove the lemon oil from the refrigerator and allow to warm up to room temperature. Meanwhile, heat 2 Tbsp olive oil in a frying pan over high heat. Cut taragna cakes into small rounds, then pan fry until browned and crisped on both sides. Cakes may be held in a 225 degree oven or served at room temperature, if desired. In a small bowl, toss the chamomile blossoms and shoots in the fresh Meyer lemon oil. Quenelle the caviar on to the warm polenta taragna cake, then garnish with whipped crème fraîche, chamomile and a few drops of fresh lemon juice.

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