You thought shrimp with polenta was something you could only get in a fine dining restaurant. Here we’ll show you how to make a super delicious version, and add some new variations to it and mix it up however you like.
You’ll love the combination of creamy polenta, tender shrimp, and spicy sausage.
It’s easy to make excuses for not making this awesome dish, a dish that is sure to impress your family or your dinner party crowd. It takes a long time to cook real polenta, but there are several shortcuts you can use. We also add roasted red pepper puree to change up the polenta, and there’s a quick way to do it home. And the shrimp is the easiest part.
First off, while I appreciate the quality that a real slow cooked polenta contributes to a dish, many people just don’t have or want to spend a half an hour stirring polenta. The solution-use quick cooking polenta that is ready in under 5 minutes.
Some will argue that the flavor and texture just aren’t the same as slow cooked, you can read more about it here if you wish. Add in some freshly grated parmesan and gruyere cheese and a quick puree of roasted red peppers, and you have an amazing base for your shrimp. You could leave out the red pepper puree if you like, or add some fresh herbs to the polenta. Mix it up however you like!
For your red pepper puree, you can make the red peppers yourself (and store some too for future use), or simply buy a jar of roasted red peppers and puree one in your blender. But before you do, I suggest finding the time to make the roasted red pepper. Nothing beats its fresh flavor and sweetness.
Wash and dry your pepper(s) (you can use just red ones, or prepare orange or yellow ones, whichever you prefer). Turn your broiler on high, and set your oven rack in the middle of your oven. Place your peppers on the rack directly below the heat. Allow the pepper to blister and blacken just a bit on each side, before turning to the next side. Set the pepper upright so the top blackens. And also top-down, so you can get the bottom blackened. The aim here is to blacken and blister every side well so that you can easily remove the skin.
Once your pepper is cooked on all sides, place it into a small glass or metal bowl, and cover with plastic wrap or a towel. Let it sit for 10 to 15 minutes while the heat from the pepper continues to loosen the skin.
Now remove it from the bowl and remove the skin . Remove the seeds and stem (if needed, you can rinse off any remaining seeds using as little water as possible). Now your pepper is ready to purée or chop. It’s ok if a little skin remains in some spots or is charred on-it will add a little extra smoky flavor to your dish.
You can vary the top of sausage in the dish too, using Spanish chorizo if available (my favorite), a mexican chorizo, or even some Italian sausage.
To finish off the dish you just have to cook your sausage, and then a quick sauté of the shrimp. Put it all together and you have a restaurant quality dish at home!
- 1/2 lb Spanish Chorizo
- 1 pound shrimp
- 1 cup polenta-regular or quick cooking
- 1 roasted red pepper fresh made or from a jar
- 2 cups milk
- 2 cups water
- 1/2 cup gruyere cheese
- 1/2 cup parmesan cheese
- 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
On low/medium heat, cook the sausage until well browned. Remove from pan and leave some of the fat for cooking the shrimp.
Place the water and milk in a large saucepan and bring to boil. Slowly add in polenta wound whisking. If using quick cooking polenta, turn off heat and stir occasionally.
For regular cornmeal, reduce heat to low and cook 30 to 40 minutes, stirring regularly to prevent sticking.
Meanwhile, roast and peel your red pepper, remove seeds and purée in a blender or with a hand blender. If using roasted red peppers from a jar, remove one pepper and pat dry well with paper towels, and purée. If you like if your red peppers with some small pieces, pulse when puréeing. Add purée to polenta.
Add in cheeses, and stir to combine.
Using pan sausage or chorizo was cooked in, reheat to medium and place the shrimp in, without overlapping. Allow to cook 2-3 minutes on each side or until just cooked through. Finish with a splash of white wine.
Add butter to the warm polenta just before serving, then place shrimp atop polenta and add pieces of sausage.