This dish was inspired in part by shrimp and grits and in part by gambas al ajillo (recipe here). I hope you like it as much as Ed and I did.
Shrimp on Polenta Recipe
makes 1 serving
for the polenta:
3/4 cup chicken broth
1 cup water
1/4 cup cornmeal
1/2 cup freshly grated chedder cheese
1 tbsp butter
for the shrimp:
5 large shrimp, peeled and deveined
1 slice bacon
2 cloves garlic, minced finely
1 stalk green onions, green parts only, sliced thinly
1/2 tbsp olive oil
splash fresh lime or lemon juice
pinch red chili flakes
a few fresh cilantro or parsley leaves, chopped coarsely for garnish
Rinse the shrimp and pat dry. Massage gently with a pinch of coarse salt and set aside. In a small heavy bottomed pot, bring the water and chicken broth to a boil over high heat. Add the cornmeal in a thin stream while whisking continuously to combine well. Then reduce the heat to medium low, cover, and whisk very frequently for 8 minutes. Meanwhile, in a small cast iron pan or skillet, fry the bacon until crispy over medium heat. Remove the bacon to a paper bag or paper towel lined plate. Break up the bacon into small pieces and set aside. When the polenta is smooth, raise the heat to medium and when the polenta is very hot, remove from heat. Whisk in the butter until melted. Then whisk in the cheese until it melts. Cover and set aside.
Add the olive oil to the skillet with the bacon fat and heat over medium high heat. Add the shrimp and cook until the bottom side is pink and the shrimp is almost cooked halfway through, about 30 seconds. Then flip the shrimp over and cook until the other side is pink and the shrimp is almost cooked all the way through, about 30 seconds. Then add the green onions, garlic, red chili flakes, and a small splash of lime juice. Give everything a few quick stirs until fragrant, and mix in the chopped bacon. Plate the polenta and top with the shrimp mixture. Then garnish with the cilantro and serve immediately.