I watched the Shrimp and Grits Throwdown with Bobby Flay one night on Food Network and it got in my head...and needed to get in my mouth..a quick pantry fridge search revealed: frozen shrimp, polenta, guanciale, smoked cheddar and arugula... so I put it all together and it worked! It worked beautifully. I've made it again and again each time with whatever cheese/smoked pork product is around.. aged gouda, marscapone and thick cut bacon also yielded terrific results...there is lots of room for creativity in this recipe. It takes under a half hour and is truly satisfying... warm, spicy, cheesy, creamy..lovely dinner after a long day. —Aliwaks
cubed smoked bacon, pancetta, guanciale, Virginia ham, tasso or proscuitto
quick cooking polenta
milk or stock
clove garlic, minced
1 + cups
shredded smoked gouda or cheddar
grated aged gouda or dry jack
large shrimp, deviened, peeled (defrosted if necessary)
tablespoon hot sauce (I like Crystal or the Mexican on wth the wooden cap, can't remember the name)
handfuls arugula, washed and dried
20 or so
rosemary, finely chopped
cloves garlic, sliced
In This Recipe
Set water, milk or stock, minced garlic, 1 tablespoon of butter, salt and pepper to boil.
In separate pan fry bacon cubes, until crispy and perfect. Pour off half the fat.
When water begins to boil, lower the flame and slowly whisk in polenta, allow to simmer.
Set medium heat under bacon fat pan, add olive oil & sliced garlic. Saute until soft.
While garlic is softening whisk rosemary into the polenta. Test texture. It should be very soft and creamy. If it's not, add some some liquid.
Season shrimp and add to garlic in pan, add tomatoes, hot sauce 1/4 cup water, white wine or stock, cover and let cook 4 minutes or until they are nice and pink.
While shrimp is cooking remove polenta from heat, whisk in most of the cheeses and remaining butter. Add more cheese if you like and season to taste.
To Serve: Dollop polenta into 4 bowls. (There should be leftover polenta for breakfast). Distribute arugula evenly in each. The heat from the polenta will wilt the arugula. Place 5 shrimp in each bowl pour sauce over and sprinkle liberally with bacon cubes. Add more hot sauce if you wish and a few chopped scallions or chives if you want. Excellent while eaten on couch with blanket and an old movie.