Polenta is one of those overlooked, versatile yummy comfort foods that I don’t think gets enough attention. I know a lot of people have used the kind of creamy polenta you have with shrimp as opposed to shrimp and grits but, I’m talking about these formed “logs” of polenta you can find in all different flavor combinations.
That is my favorite kind of polenta. The fat free discs you can sauté or grill… Or just warm in the microwave.
In this case, I found our polenta with basil and garlic, which worked perfectly with the shrimp.
You really can choose to top these with any kind of fruit you like but, our favorite fruits to grill are peaches and pears. We couldn’t find peaches anywhere – Bosc pears are our favorite pears and they hold up so well on a grill.
You Will Need:
- Grill / Griddle (I linked our favorite below)
- Shrimp (we get ours from Trader Joe’s, the best kind – period. I’ll show a picture of the bag below)
- Fruit (I recommend either pears or peaches)
- Polenta (you will find the pre-formed polenta on the shelves of your grocery store – usually in the pasta aisle – sometimes in produce where you’d find tofu)
- Cilantro (either semi-dried, which is my favorite or fresh)
- Garlic (I get it minced to save time)
- Broccoli Microgreens (optional) – Or Lettuce (also optional)
- Olive Oil
- Sauce (I used from Trader Joe’s as well, their Eggplant and Roasted Red Pepper sauce – I will add a photo below. You can use no sauce, more olive oil, hummus, avocado… The options are endless)
First thing you’ll want to do is get your shrimp out and start defrosting if you chose to purchase frozen shrimp. Again, the best shrimp we have ever had is from Trader Joe’s. Please see below:
Choose how many shrimp you want per person (we chose two per person but three would have been even better!) and place them in a bowl with some lukewarm water covering the shrimp completly.
While those defrost, you’ll want to get your grill/griddle warmed up with some olive oil heating on the grill pad. We use Cuisinart’s Goodfull Griddler – dishwasher safe and gorgeous.
I start with the polenta. Once you cut into the package – which I do down the middle with a sharpe knife – some fluid will come out. It’s just water. Start to cut the discs into thickish pieces, in the amount needed for serving. I made six pieces; three for each of us.
Lay each piece down on the medium / medium high heat and let sit in the olive oil.
While those sit to get crispy and grill marks, start to cut into your pear(s). I chose two pears, two slices per disc.
Now you can flip your polenta and see the grill marks, leave the discs on the other side for about as long as you did the first time.
When they are finished and have their grill marks on both sides, add the oil to the flat side of your grill / griddle and leave them on there to crisp up on one end. Add some more olive oil to the grill side and place your fruit.
As the pears get their own grill marks, check on the shrimp. It’s okay if they’re not completely defrosted; they will still cook just fine. When the fruit is done (you have decided there are sufficient marks and they have absorbed some of the olive oil), move them over to join the polenta discs to stay warm. Below you can see the point where I had decided they had ”cooked” enough.
Now it’s time for your shrimp. You had some choices here: you could have placed them in a baggie with some olive oil, minced garlic and seasoning to marinate in the fridge first. But, we didn’t do that because they were frozen and this was meant to be a quick lunch so, I placed some more olive oil down on the grill, some minced garlic and then the shrimp. I topped them with the semi-dry cilantro and then just let them sit and cook.
Kind of slide them around and let all the juices come back to the shrimp. Let everything continue to sit. And after a few mins, reduce the heat to medium / medium low.
At this point, I picked my dishes and chose the Williams Sonoma Honeycomb Collection.
I wanted to place the sauce down first – and planned to surround the food with the microgreens. Here’s the sauce; they’ve had it at Trader Joe’s for forever. It should still be there and easy to find:
So, sauce first, then the polenta (you choose if you want the crispier side facing up or down), then the fruit.
I followed with some of the shrimp
I then decided to place some of the microgreens around the food.
I drizzled with just a bit more olive oil and served.
My favorite part of any meal, is that ”one perfect bite”. The bite where you get a little bit of everything… All there in its perfect mouthful glory:
Never underestimate the polite simple polenta – and get your grills out! It’s almost Spring… At least we can pretend, anyway!