That is, until I came across this recipe from Marcus Samuelsson that had the juicy addition of tomatoes in place of the more traditional filler of grated cheese. The polenta took on an beautiful orange hue and the tomatoes, wine and spices lent such flavor and body. The shrimp and garlic-infused sauce enhanced the velvety texture.
Adapted from Marcus Samuelsson
- 1/4 cup fresh lemon juice
- 1/2 cup olive oil
- 1 teaspoon chile powder
- 1 teaspoon sweet paprika
- 1 pound large shrimp, peeled and deveined
- 1 red onion, finely chopped
- 4 garlic cloves, minced
- 1 cup canned crushed tomatoes
- 1/2 cup white wine
- 1 cup polenta or coarse-ground cornmeal
- 1 bay leaf
- 1/2 cup cherry tomatoes, halved
- 1 tablespoon chopped cilantro
- 1 tablespoon chopped parsley
- Combine 2 tablespoons lemon juice, 1 tablespoon olive oil, 1/2 teaspoon chile powder, 1/2 teaspoon paprika, and shrimp in a medium bowl and toss to combine. Season with salt and pepper and let sit at room temperature while you cook the polenta.
- Heat 1/4 cup of the oil in a medium saucepan over medium heat. Add onion, half the garlic, 1/2 teaspoon of the chile powder and 1/2 teaspoon of the paprika. Season with salt and black pepper and cook until onions soften, about 5 minutes. Add the crushed tomatoes, 1/4 cup of the wine and 3 cups water. Bring to a simmer and slowly pour in the polenta while whisking continuously with a wire whisk. Add bay leaf and turn heat to low.
- Cook polenta, stirring frequently, until polenta is creamy and grains are tender, about 25 minutes. Season to taste with salt and pepper, cover and remove from heat until shrimp is done.
- Heat remaining 3 tablespoons of oil in a large frying pan over medium-high heat. Add remaining garlic and shrimp. Cook until shrimp are just pink, about 2 minutes. Add remaining wine, lemon juice, cherry tomatoes, cilantro, and parsley. Bring to a simmer and season with additional salt and pepper if necessary.
- Give polenta a stir and spoon into shallow bowls. Top with shrimp and sauce and serve.