I have a love for polenta that I don’t think has been adequately expressed on this site… So here we go again with some happy yellow discs that are like little creamy plates to host something crunchy on top. In this case it’s shrimp but if you’re more partial to scallops, I have that recipe here.
You Will Need:
- Salt, Pepper and Dried Tarragon
- Flour (all purpose flour works best with this; almond flour was way too mushy)
- Shrimp (large / extra large, frozen, deveined – peeled if available as well – saves time)
- Olive Oil
- Can / Jar of Roasted Red Peppers
- Polenta Log (very important it’s the log and get flavored as well if you can)
- You can also add grated parmesan to your dredge but it’s not really necessary
Start by defrosting your shrimp. Take as many as you plan to cook (for reference, one half of a polenta log can cut about six-seven slices so, depending on how many people you’re feeding….). Place them in lukewarm to slightly cold water and set them aside. If for a while, leave in fridge to defrost.
The polenta I got was flavored; I never get unflavored. Why not get something that already has a flavor profile to it? This was a new brand for me but it was just as delicious and easy to cook with. Basil and Garlic happens to be my favorite of all the polenta log flavors.
When you cut down the middle to open the package be careful – there will be some liquid that comes out. I usually start the cut and finish over the sink by just breaking the log with my hands. Pull both pieces out of the package.
Start cutting equal sized discs from each half til you get to the ends. The polenta is precooked so, if you’re a cook who likes to nibble as you go, feel free to taste the ends… But try to only use the other parts so they will lay flat on a plate after laying flat on a pan. The size I cut is about a quarter of an inch.
Throw oil in your pan and lay the discs down so that each one is flat and not laying at all on the others… You want to get them a bit crispy but certainly warm and creamy. Start the pan on medium low, raising to medium. As you start to hear the sizzle and smell the polenta, remember to periodically move the discs. They will stick as they sit in the oil.
In the meantime, get your dredging station ready. You’re not using bread crumbs or Panko for this – it’s super quick and not necessary.
Create a bowl with flour, one with eggs (I used two eggs) and another bowl with more flour. Season both flour bowls with the salt, pepper and dried tarragon. Stir with a spoon or your fingers.
Whisk your eggs and drain the shrimp – they should be defrosted by now. If the tails are still on, just remove them.
Now, if you don’t use separate utensils like I did to complete this, pick which hand will be dry ingredients and which will be wet. Set aside a plate to rest your dredged shrimp and go flip your polenta.
This is the color you want – nice and golden.
Lower the heat a bit.
Take a shrimp, place it in the flour, both sides, then the egg, both sides and then finally the last flour bowl, both sides. Shake off any extra bit of flour (not too much, that part crisps up nicely!) and lay the shrimp on a plate to the side.
Top with just a bit more of the tarragon and then let them sit for a minute while you remove your polenta. Go slow and take your time. They will stick just a bit and then pop right up.
Add just a bit more oil to the pan, raise the heat and then once the oil starts to bubble add your shrimp. Take your time so the oil doesn’t splatter up. You don’t need a LOT of oil, just enough that the underside of each shrimp is in the oil. Not the whole shrimp; we’re not deep-frying these just pan frying them…
As they cook, get out a small blender for your roasted red peppers. You won’t need much unless you’re cooking more of these than I did (remember, I only did six). As you can see, I only added one half of a pepper. It really does blend down and you can always add more.
This needs nothing; no oil or seasoning. The depth of flavor comes from it being roasted and you want that flavor to stand out on its own.
Once it blends down to a liquid, flip your shrimp.
Start to plate your discs while those finish cooking. Find a platter or plate the amounts, leaving enough room to cut and let the sauce go around the plate.
Top each disc with some of the sauce.
Making sure the shrimps are crispy on both sides, pull them out gently and place one on each disc.
Top with just a bit more tarragon.
These are, in my opinion, even better that the scallop ones I made. They feel lighter and crispier… You can see when you cut into them how the polenta stays creamy on the inside and the shrimp is perfectly cooked.
These are going to be a staple in my house. It took about twenty minutes for me to make these… five minutes to eat them.
And I’m making my husband do the dishes.
Platter is from cb2