blue cheese, hazelnut and honey polenta.

Ever get that feeling when dinner is slowly creeping up on you and you have no idea what to make and you’re about to just serve your arm for dinner and BAM! inspiration slaps you (gently and nicely) in the face?

That happens to me, like, every day.

Luckily, most of the time my inspiration is spot-on with what my taste buds are secretly craving (those sneaky little taste buds…). That was definitely the case when I came across Joy’s blue cheese, hazelnut and honey polenta. It didn’t take much convincing for me to try this for dinner — and it didn’t take much convincing for me and the husband to subsequently devour the entire batch in less than 24 hours. And it won’t take much convincing to make this again in the very, very near future. It’s equally sweet and savory, super easy to whip up and extremely filling and delicious. If I had more superlatives to describe this dish, I would use them. Just… oh, just make this dish tonight. It’s the perfect way to kick off this glorious week.

Blue Cheese, Hazelnut & Honey Polenta
Courtesy of Joy the Baker

Yields: 4 to 6 servings

1 cup hazelnuts
4 cups water
1 teaspoon salt
1 cup polenta
1/2 cup heavy cream
1 tablespoon unsalted butter
1/2 teaspoon fresh ground black pepper
1/2 cup blue or goat cheese crumbles
fresh thyme or parsley (optional)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Place hazelnuts on a baking sheet and bake 10 minutes until toasted. Remove from oven and let cool to the touch. Place hazelnuts in a clean dish towel and rub off as much of the skins as possible. Remove hazelnuts from towel and coarsely chop. Set aside.
Bring water to a boil in a medium or large pot. Add salt. Slowly whisk in polenta; reduce heat to low. Cook polenta, stirring often, until the consistency resembles a thick pudding. Remove from heat and stir in heavy cream, butter and black pepper.
Divide polenta among bowls; top with blue cheese crumbles, honey to taste and a sprig of fresh thyme or parsley, if desired. Serve immediately.