Wednesday, March 26, 2014
Polenta with Shrimp Ragout
It's that time of year when things start heating up in the kitchen, and I mean heating up literally. The temperatures in Phoenix have already hit the eighty's. The winter grass is beginning to look a little ragged, and the remaining grapefruits need to be picked from our tree. A few months ago, I planted some chard and green beans and a few flowers, like nasturtiums and bachelor buttons from seed. I'm happy to report everything is progressing along quite well. I also keep a few herbs both outside by the front door and in the back yard near our large eucalyptus tree. For last nights dinner, it was so easy to grab a pair of scissors, walk a few feet out the front door and snip a handful of fresh parsley.
Having fresh herbs available is a big help when preparing our day to day meals. Tuesday night when walking into the kitchen, all I knew was that there was going to be shrimp and polenta. I know it's terrible, but that how I plan ahead. Yep, that was the big plan. Anyway, I goggled those two ingredients and came up with several options, one being this recipe from "Food and Wine" November 2004 edition, contributed by Mario Batali, who I believe is one of the great rock stars of all things culinary. After adjusting a few ingredients here and there, this is my version.
1 tablespoon sugar
1 cup quick-cooking polenta
1/2 cup Parmesan (grated)
1/4 cup plus 2 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
4 scallions (thinly sliced)
1 clove garlic (minced)
1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper
1/2 cup dry white wine
1 14-5 ounce can crushed tomatoes
1 pound extra large wild blue shrimp
1/4 cup parsley (coarsely chopped)
1 1/2 teaspoons grated lemon zest
1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
Freshly ground pepper
In a medium saucepan, bring 5 cups water to a boil with the sugar. Whisk in polenta, stirring constantly until thickened, about 5 minutes. Remove from heat. Stir in 3 tablespoons of the olive oil and Parmesan cheese, taste and if necessary add salt. Press a piece of parchment paper directly onto the surface of the polenta, set aside.
In a large skillet, heat the remaining olive oil and add scallions and red pepper flakes, cook over moderate heat 1 minute. Add wine, stirring until most of the liquid is gone, then add crushed tomatoes and juice. Simmer until 1/2 of the liquid has evaporated. Add the shrimp and simmer until just cooked about 2 minutes. Stir in the parsley, lemon zest and juice. Taste then season with salt and pepper if necessary. Remove from heat. Rewarm polenta, then serve with shrimp ragout. Enjoy!