cheesy polenta bites with blueberry corn relish
Spring officially has sprung here! It’s all sunshine and 75 degrees one day and 45 degrees and rainy the next — a classic Minnesota spring season. Way to be your unpredictable self, Minnesota.
That being said, the grass is green, the flowers are blooming and even when it looks like the pits outside, it’s springtime in my kitchen with these cheesy polenta bites with blueberry corn relish. Every bite is brimming with fresh flavors and I LIKE IT. I like it a lot.
But flowers aren’t the only thing popping up everywhere lately. There are babies, too. So many adorable, chubby, happy babies! I feel like, lately, everyone around me is either expecting or has a new baby (not me, NOT ME. I’m drinking wine as I type this). And that’s also cause for celebration.
So gather ’round, friends! We are here today to celebrate new babies, springtime and cheesy bites topped with fresh and fruity deliciousness.
Actually, we are here to celebrate one baby-to-be in particular, and that is my dear blogger friend Taylor of Greens and Chocolate‘s little boy. She is due in just a few short weeks and we all thought it best to celebrate her upcoming arrival with food, naturally.
I first met Taylor a couple of years ago with our fellow blogger friend, Mackenzie of Mrs. Olson’s Kitchen. I recently had moved to Minnesota and both gals were so kind and friendly and made me feel instantly at home in my new state. Since then, I’ve gotten to know both of them pretty well and they both were so generous to me when I found out I was expecting my little lady. Now, both of them are expecting and I couldn’t be more excited! Taylor is going to be a fantastic mom, I just know it.
Since Taylor’s blog is all about balance and moderation, I thought this appetizer was fitting to celebrate. The healthiness comes from the fresh blueberry corn relish tossed with juicy blueberries and crunchy raw corn, white wine vinegar and olive oil, fresh thyme and red onion; and the indulgence comes from the salty, cheesy polenta. Together, it makes for one seriously yummy treat that I may or may not have inhaled right after I made it.
This isn’t actually the first time I’ve inhaled said dish — the inspiration for this recipe comes from the dinner club I’m in. Yes, that is correct. I am in a dinner club and I really love it. Each month, a group of us ladies gather together to make food and eat food and talk about life (and also food) and it is wonderful. The last time we gathered, we put together the “Happy Hour with the Girls” menu from Sprouted Kitchen’s first cookbook, and one of the recipes was for polenta squares with raw corn and blueberry relish. I ate a few bites of it that night out of sheer politeness, but I’ll let you in on my secret: I really wanted to steal the whole platter and eat it all myself.
Since this virtual baby shower also is a gathering of sorts, I thought it would be the perfect time to recreate this dish at home, but with a few tweaks to fit my tastes. And while I would love nothing more than to have this celebration of Taylor and her baby in person, I’m also selfishly semi-glad I could make this recipe and have it all to myself. Just being real.
If I were you and am planning to make this dish for an upcoming gathering — be it a baby shower, a bridal shower, a potluck, a Memorial Day cookout, etc. — I’d suggest making a double or even triple batch, and squirrel away one batch all to yourself. It’s for everyone’s own good, really.
Congratulations, Taylor! I am so excited to see you become a mom and to meet your little man.Print
For the polenta:
- 1 cup water
- 3/4 cup milk
- 1 teaspoon minced garlic
- 3/4 cup polenta
- 1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
- Salt and pepper to taste
- 1/2 cup shredded Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese
- 1/2 teaspoon lemon zest
For the relish:
- 2 ears fresh corn
- 1 1/4 cup fresh blueberries
- 1/4 red onion, peeled and chopped
- 2 tablespoons fresh thyme leaves
- 2 teaspoons olive oil
- 2 teaspoons white wine vinegar
- Pinch salt
- Heat oven to 425 degrees F. Spray an 8-by-8-inch square glass or ceramic baking pan with cooking spray.
- In a small saucepan over medium-high heat, bring water, milk and garlic just to a boil. Reduce heat to low; stir in polenta and dried oregano. Cook, stirring often, 7 to 10 minutes until polenta is thick and smooth. Remove from heat. Stir in salt and pepper to taste, shredded cheese and lemon zest.
- Spread polenta mixture evenly in bottom of prepared baking pan. Bake 40 to 45 minutes until top of polenta is golden brown. Set aside to cool.
- Meanwhile, make the relish: Use a sharp knife to slice off kernels from ears of corn. Transfer corn kernels to a large bowl. Slice half of blueberries in half, leaving the rest intact. Add sliced and whole blueberries to bowl, along with chopped red onion, thyme leaves, olive oil, vinegar and salt. Stir to combine.
- Cut cooled polenta into squares or use a round cookie cutter to cut polenta into circles. Top with relish just before serving.
Aaaaand for the grand finale, here are the other bloggers’ delicious recipes for the shower! GAH. So much yum.
Mrs. Olson’s Kitchen — Quick Jam
Fit Foodie Finds — DIY Chocolate Chip Peanut Crunch Clif Bars
The Cooking Actress — Caramelized Onion and Cheddar Gougeres
Cookie Monster Cooking — Strawberry, Cucumber and Mozzarella Phyllo Cups
Garnish with Lemon — Mini Pavlovas with Blueberries and Kiwi
A Kitchen Addiction — Blueberry Lemon Donut Muffins
The Lemon Bowl — Blackberry Ginger Smash with Thyme
Making Thyme for Health — Lemon Cupcakes with Fresh Blueberry Icing
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