Crispy Polenta with Grilled Pears

Recipe : Crispy Polenta with Grilled Pears | By Roy Benningfield

Last Updated: November 3, 2020By

Recipe: Crispy Polenta with Grilled Pears. Originally published in the Summer + Fall 2020 issue. 

Crispy Polenta with Grilled Pears

Enjoy this delicious summer and fall recipe from Roy Benningfield of SALT: Crispy Polenta with Grilled Pears.


1 cup heavy cream

1/4 lb blue cheese cut into 1-inch cubes or crumbles



Heat the heavy cream in a heavy-bottomed saucepan on low heat. Stir in the blue cheese and cook about two minutes until the cheese is completely melted and sauce is smooth. Add salt to taste.


3 cups water

1 cup polenta or cornmeal

1 Tbsp olive oil


Bring the water to a boil in a heavy-bottomed pot. While whisking the water, slowly pour in the polenta. Reduce the polenta to a simmer while continuing to whisk for 25-35 minutes. If it begins to boil, reduce the heat until the boiling stops. When the polenta is cooked, pour onto a nonstick sheet pan to cool. When cool, cut polenta into desired shapes.

Preheat outdoor or indoor grill to medium-high heat. Brush the polenta lightly on both sides with olive oil and grill, turning one time until the edges are golden brown.


2 pears

4 Tbsp toasted pine nuts

3 cups mixed lettuces


Slice each pear in half. Use a melon baller to scoop out seeds of each pear. Use the same grill used for the polenta at a medium-high heat to grill the inside of each pear until it reaches desired tenderness. Slice a tiny bit off the bottom of the pear to make a flat base. This will help the pear stand up on the plate.

Plate the entire dish by placing half a pear and mixed lettuces on top of bed of grilled polenta. Drizzle with blue cheese fondue and 1 tablespoon of pine nuts per dish. For some extra tang, drizzle with a tablespoon of balsamic vinegar.

Photo of Crispy Polenta with Grilled Pears courtesy of denver dish; bio photo by Bailey Batchelor.

Chef Roy Benningfield has been a part of the downtown Boulder food scene for almost 20 years. As the Culinary Director at SALT, he takes pride in being one of the pioneers of the non-GMO, local and sustainably sourced food movement. Chef Roy was born and raised here in Colorado and still feels like there is something magical happening every time he comes to downtown Boulder… yes, even for work!

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