Italian-Style “Shrimp and Grits” With Polenta
Shrimp and Grits
medium-large shrimp, shelled and deveined with tails intact (reserve shells for stock)
cloves garlic, thinly sliced
Calabrian chiles in oil, seeds removed, thinly sliced into rings*
To seed the chiles, cut off the ends and press your finger along the chile to flatten it. The seeds will pop right out of the chile onto your cutting board.*Show Note
chile oil from Calabrian chiles
Change up your regular shrimp and grits routine by swapping your grits out for polenta cooked in sweet corn stock. You’ll have a smooth, flavorful base for the spiced shrimp.
- Bring stock and salt to a boil in a heavy saucepan. Add polenta in a thin stream, whisking. Cook over moderate heat, whisking continuously, 2 minutes. Reduce heat to low and cover pan, cooking at just below a simmer for 10 minutes.
- After 10 minutes, stir polenta with a wooden spoon continuously for 1 minute, then cook again for 10 minutes. Be sure that the heat is low so the polenta doesn’t stick to the bottom of the pan. Repeat every 10 minutes, cooking for about 45 minutes total.
- Remove from heat and whisk in butter and Parmesan cheese until incorporated. Season to taste with salt. Cover and keep polenta warm for up to 10 minutes until ready to serve. If polenta sits for longer than 10 minutes it will begin to solidify. If this happens, add a splash of hot water and stir over low heat until polenta is creamy again.
Shrimp and Grits
- Rinse shrimp and pat dry with a paper towel. Place shrimp on a plate and season with salt and pepper. Set aside.
- Melt butter with oils in a cast-iron pan over medium heat. Add garlic and chile rings and toss to coat. Cook until fragrant, about 2 to 3 minutes, to infuse the oils. Keep a close eye on the heat so you don’t burn the garlic.
- Add the shrimp to the pan and toss in the oil mixture. Cook the shrimp until they’re plump and pink, tossing occasionally, for 3-5 minutes. (It’s fine if the garlic starts to develop a golden color around the edges.)
- Remove the pan from heat and squeeze the juice from half a lemon over the shrimp. Add half of the chopped parsley and stir. Season to taste with salt and pepper.
- Spoon polenta into bowls, then top with shrimp mixture. Drizzle some of the remaining oil over the polenta and garnish with chopped parsley.
Ashley Goldsmith is a San Francisco-based food and travel writer. She's always hungry and is down to travel anywhere. Her words have appeared in Lucky Peach, AFAR, Bon Appetit, Eater, Vice, and others. Ashley also dabbles in writing about women's health, social issues, and fashion. Follow her on Instagram @ashleygoldsmith_