Polenta Bites with Bacon, Dates, and Blue Cheese
A perfect combination of sweet, salty, and savory, these little polenta bites are sure to please. The polenta cups can be made up to two days in advance before filling and broiling. Simply cover the pan loosely with plastic wrap before refrigerating to keep them from drying out, and then uncover just prior to filling.
4 slices cooked bacon (about 2 ounces), finely chopped and drippings reserved
3 ½cups chicken broth
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1 cup medium or fine ground cornmeal
Nonstick cooking spray
½ cup (about 2 ounces) blue cheese, crumbled
½ cup dates (about 6), pitted and chopped
Bring the bacon drippings, broth, and salt to a boil in a medium pot. Slowly whisk in the cornmeal, reduce the heat to a simmer and cook, whisking constantly, until the mixture thickens. Continue cooking, stirring frequently, until the mixture starts to pull away from the sides of the pot, about 10 minutes.
Fill the cups of a nonstick mini-muffin pan with the polenta and make an indentation in the center of each using the back of a teaspoon coated in nonstick spray. Refrigerate until chilled, about 20 minutes.
Meanwhile, heat the broiler with the rack in the second highest position. Line a rimmed baking sheet with foil and lightly coat with nonstick spray. Carefully remove the polenta cups from the muffin tin and place them on the baking sheet. Top each with chopped bacon, dates, and blue cheese. Broil until the cheese melts and begins to brown, about 5 minutes. Transfer to a platter and serve warm or at room temperature.