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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.

Ingredients:

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)
Salt
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

To prepare:

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!




20 comments:

  1. This sounds so delicious, Cheri! Such a wonderful combination of flavours! I'm very envious of your 80-degree temperatures! Greece has pretty nice weather too, but it can get fairly chilly in the winter. :-)

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    1. Oh Helen, Greece is my dream, on my bucket list, you are so lucky!

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  2. I envy you the heat! This looks tasty. Thank you so much.

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    1. Hi Dena, in a month or so, you won't envy the heat, it gets very warm here.

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  3. I have fresh herbs in the courtyard between the kitchens and there is nothing better than adding them to our meals. I must try making polenta soon :)

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    1. I agree, I really enjoy cooking with them. Thanks!

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  4. A great, little, tasty dish! :) ela

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  5. Sounds super delicious...and the heat sounds wonderful...especially because it is snowing here in WI...again...right now!! I also can't believe you have a grapefruit tree-how fun!

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    1. I can't believe it is still snowing back there, I love the cold weather, probably because of where we live.

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  6. 80 degrees?! I'm jealous. : )
    This looks wonderful. Would you believe I only finally cooked polenta not long ago. I made it for ragu and then did "fries" with leftovers. I love your pairing because I love shrimp. And I'm also looking to grow a few herbs this summer. My thumb is very brown so we'll see...

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    1. Love the idea of fries with the leftovers, that is so clever Monica.

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  7. Wow, it is already getting hot in Arizona! I tap out at about 85 degrees. Anything higher than that and I get a little cranky. I don't even want to know what it's like in July!

    This shrimp and polenta looks delicious!

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    1. Hi Natalie, thats why is try and leave during most of the summer, we work double time in the winter as we can only do so much work when we are in Oregon for the summer. Yikes!

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  8. You are more than welcome to send some of that 80 degree weather over here!! I'll take it! :P

    What a tasty meal! I love that it requires very little stove time, so you don't have to sweat it out for long.

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    1. Hi Joanne, Oh I'd send the heat if I could, love cold weather, call me crazy!

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  9. I didn't know you lived in Phoenix! I used to live in Tucson. The summers were brutal. It's great having fresh herbs so handy - this looks and sounds insanely good! It's chock full of great flavors.

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    1. I agree the summers are brutal, we try to spend them in Oregon. So you know what I'm talking about....Tucson a pretty nice town.

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  10. I only recently discovered polenta and love it. I like how you have plated it with this delicious sounding shrimp ragout. We seem to be getting the odd sunny day in between all the cold wet weather in the UK and this plate is getting me ready for british summertime.

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    1. Thanks Tina, I am pretty new to polenta to and just love it, someone suggested making fries out of the leftovers.

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