|Brighton Blue Cheese Polenta with Braised Spring Onions and Spinach|
As part of my #EatDrinkSussex series I have been developing some recipes using a selection of Sussex cheeses from La Cave a Fromage in Hove, East Sussex. The Brighton Blue - a semi-soft cows milk cheese - made by High Weald Dairy was next on my list. Brighton Blue was a recent winner of a bronze medal at the International Cheese Show in Nantwich, which is not surprising news. The Brighton Blue is a wonderfully mellow blue cheese, with a touch of saltiness and sharpness. The piquancy develops as it matures and the blue veins become stronger in colour and flavour over time. It would be great on its with some crusty bread, or melting on a rare steak however I wanted to incorporate it into a recipe...
So wondering how to showcase the Brighton Blue and not mask it in other conflicting flavours was my main concern. Inspired by the perfect match that is cheese and onion I came up with this recipe for Brighton Blue Cheese Polenta with Braised Spring Onions and Spinach. Now cheese and onion is a match you cannot argue with, so I did not want to mess around with the ingredients too much. The resulting dish is one I hope of simple, distinct flavours which I hope you will try and enjoy.
I made my polenta from scratch, stirring away for what seemed like ages to avoid the dreaded 'lumps' that can often be the case. You can of course use instant polenta (which is part cooked) and therefore cut down your stirring and cooking time (and aching arms!).
The giant spring onions, one of my favourite seasonal vegetables, are simply braised in butter and water and become soft and sweet in the cooking process. This sweetness contrasts well with the tangy, salty Brighton Blue polenta and the dish is finished off with some wilted spinach and more Brighton Blue crumbled on top of the finished dish. A grating of lemon zest added to the the dish at the end adds a citrus zing and freshness to cut through the fattiness of the cheese.
A good variation of this recipe if you don't fancy making the polenta would be to serve the braised onions, spinach and Brighton Blue cheese on a big doorstep slice of toasted sourdough - delicious. I hope you enjoy this recipe and try it out. Let me know how it goes...
Brighton Blue Cheese Polenta with Braised Spring Onions and Spinachserves 4 as a side dish or 2 as a main course
preparation time: 5 minutes
cooking time: 40 minutes
150g Brighton Blue Cheese
1 cup polenta (fine cornmeal)
4 cups water
4 large spring onions/salad onions (or 2 regular sized bunches of spring onions)
zest of 1 lemon
salt and pepper
- preheat the oven to 180C
- place your spring onions in a roasting tin (if using the large spring onions slice in half) and dot with the butter, season with salt and pepper, add an inch or so of water to the pan to help steam the onions.
- place the onions in the oven and leave to cook while you get on with the polenta - this should take about 25-30 minutes
- bring a pan of salted water to the boil then add your polenta in a steady stream whisking all the time to avoid lumps
- keep stirring regularly for about 25-30 minutes over a gentle heat until you have a creamy, smooth polenta. The stirring is what creates the creaminess as it helps release the starches in the cornmeal - and also stops it burning on the bottom of the pan!
- when the polenta is done turn off the heat and add half your Brighton Blue cheese and stir it in.
- check the polenta for seasoning then leave covered to one side whilst you wilt your spinach in a pan with just a splash of water.
- next check your onions are softened and then remove from the oven - now everything should be done and you are ready to plate up
- spoon/pour your polenta onto a large serving platter followed by the spinach and then the spring onions.
- finish the dish with the rest of the Brighton Blue crumbled on top and the grated zest of a lemon - serve immediately.
Brighton Blue cheese supplied by La Cave a Fromage