Date, blue cheese & pancetta polenta stacks

Contains pork – recipe is for non-Muslims only

Serve these date, blue cheese and pancetta polenta stacks as canapés at a party. Try a veggie twist by using chopped toasted nuts instead of pancetta for crunch

  • Prep:15 mins
    Cook:20 mins
    Plus 1 hr chilling
  • Easy

Nutrition per serving

  • kcal 258
  • fat 14g
  • saturates 6g
  • carbs 25g
  • sugars 16g
  • fibre 0g
  • protein 7g
  • salt 1g

Ingredients

  • 8 thin pancettarashers, halved
  • 1 tbsp olive oil, plus a little for the tin and for brushing
  • 500ml vegetable stockmade with 2 tsp bouillon powder
  • 100g quick-cook polenta
  • 1 tsp finely chopped rosemary
  • 25g parmesan(optional)
  • 120g creamy but sharp blue cheesesuch as Saint Agur or gorgonzola
  • 8 large medjool dates, pitted and cut in half lengthways
  • handful baby spinach leaves(you’ll need 32 leaves)
  • pomegranate molasses, to drizzle

Tip

Get ahead

You could skip cooking the pancetta by buying smoked crispy bacon, then breaking it into shards.

Method

  1. Heat oven to 200C/180C fan/ gas 6. On a baking tray, sandwich a single layer of pancetta rashers between two pieces of parchment, then weigh it down with a second tray (this will stop it wrinkling as it cooks). Bake for 10-15 mins until the fat is crisp and golden. Pat with kitchen paper to absorb any excess fat. The pancetta can be cooked a day ahead and chilled. Reheat before serving.

  2. Oil a 20cm round tin. Boil the stock in a saucepan, then slowly stir in the polenta and simmer for 5 mins, whisking, until thick and smooth. Stir in 1 tbsp oil, the rosemary and parmesan, if using, and season. Spoon the mixture into the tin, level the top, then set in the fridge for at least 1 hr in the fridge or until very firm. 

  3. When ready to eat, heat a griddle pan or non-stick frying pan until hot. Cut the set polenta into 16 wedges, brush with a little oil, then cook for 4 mins on each side or until golden and marked. Transfer to a serving plate or board. The polenta can be griddled a day ahead. Reheat it in a hot oven for a few minutes before serving.

  4. Meanwhile, use a cutlery knife to push about 1 tsp cheese into the middle of each date half. Thread a cocktail stick through each stuffed date, then add a piece of pancetta, two spinach leaves and a wedge of hot polenta. To serve, drizzle with a little of the pomegranate molasses.