I adore polenta and many times when I dine out I choose my entree solely because polenta is on the side. However when I cook it at home, I'm not always as impressed. Until today. In this week's Minimalist column there's a recipe for polenta using an untraditional method which reminds me of making risotto. By starting the corn meal with water in the pan, instead of pouring it steadily streaming it into boiling water, you remove all fear of those dreaded lumps. Adding water a cup at a time ensures even cooking and a creamy texture. With some quickly sautéed shrimp, you've got dinner in 30 minutes.
Perfect Polenta with Shrimp
From Mark Bittman
1 cup coarse cornmeal
3/4 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese
1 tablespoon unsalted butter
Freshly ground black pepper.
Put cornmeal in a medium saucepan along with 1 1/2 cups water and whisk well to make a slurry; continue whisking mixture to eliminate any lumps. Let sit for 10-15 minutes.
Put pan over medium-high heat, sprinkle with salt and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to medium and continue to cook, whisking frequently and adding water as needed to keep mixture loose and free of lumps, between 3 and 4 more cups.
If mixture becomes too thick, simply add a bit more water; consistency should be similar to sour cream’s.
Polenta will be done in 30 minutes.
Add cheese and butter.
Taste and add salt, if necessary, and lots of pepper.
Sautéed Shrimp with Leeks
2 teaspoons olive oil
1/2 cup chopped leek
1 teaspoon tomato paste
12 large hrimp
Freshly ground pepper
Juice from half a lemon
Heat oil in a 10" skillet over medium heat
Add leek with a pinch of salt and sauté until golden
Stir in tomato paste and cook for 2 minutes
Season shrimp with salt and pepper
Add shrimp to pan and cook on first side for about two minutes
Flip the shrimp over and cook for about 2 minutes longer
Add lemon juice and scrape up bits from bottom of pan
Taste for seasoning
Serve over polenta
Top with grated parmesan cheese