Recipe Redux: Shrimp and “Grits”

Using instant polenta will put a new and quick spin on this homey classic!

6 cups water
1 1/2 cups instant polenta or fine-grain cornmeal
1/2 pound white shrimp or white rock shrimp, peeled and deveined
1 tablespoon olive oil
4 cloves of garlic, peeled and minced
2 shallots, minced
4 sprigs of fresh thyme, picked
1/2 cup dry white wine
4 roma tomatoes, chopped
2 cups, plus 2 tablespoons heavy cream
6 tablespoons unsalted butter
Ground black pepper
Chopped scallions for garnish

1. To prepare the polenta: bring water to a rolling boil in a medium saucepan over medium-high heat. Reduce heat to low and add 1 teaspoon salt. While whisking, slowly pour the polenta or cornmeal into the water. Cover and cook, stirring occasionally to prevent the polenta from sticking to the bottom of the saucepan, until the polenta is soft and smooth, about 30 minutes.

2. Meanwhile, heat the olive oil in medium skillet over medium heat just until hot, but not smoking. Add the garlic and shallots to the pan and sauté, until the garlic is fragrant and the shallots are tender, about 2 minutes. Remove the skillet from heat and slowly pour in the white wine. Return the skillet to heat and cook, stirring occasionally with a wooden spoon, until the wine has reduced by half.

3. Once the wine has reduced by half, add 2 cups of the heavy cream to the garlic and shallot mixture and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to medium-low and let simmer until cream is slightly thickened. Add the shrimp, tomatoes, thyme, and 3 tablespoons butter to the cream mixture and season with 1/2 teaspoon salt and 1/4 teaspoon black pepper. Cook, undisturbed, until the shrimp are pink and tender, about 5 minutes.

4. To serve: remove the cooked polenta from heat and stir in the remaining 2 tablespoons of heavy cream and 3 tablespoons butter; season to taste with additional salt and black pepper. Place hot polenta in a bowl and spoon shrimp and sauce on top. Garnish with extra chopped tomatoes or chopped scallions.

Makes 4 to 6 servings

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