You know how most of my recipes are thrown together by kind of looking around and seeing what we have in the kitchen to work with and hope it turns out okay? Well this was not like that. Shocking. I know. I have had this idea rolling around in my head for awhile now. So when we went to the store this weekend I intentionally made sure we had everything I needed to try it. My husband would probably tell you he’s glad I did. He went back for seconds.
Polenta is a semi-staple in our house, but I usually use Parmesan. I like shrimp and grits, but grits is not always something we have handy. So one day I thought maybe it would be worth a try to do a kind of take on shrimp and grits using polenta instead. The salty bacon and cheddar balance well with the sweet honey, and the smooth texture of the polenta compliments the shrimp. You will be satisfied.
Serve it with a nice green salad and you have yourself a complete fancy meal for Valentine’s Day, your anniversary, or just a Sunday evening when you have a little extra time to spend on making a meal.
Ingredients for the Bacon Wrapped Shrimp
– 1 pound large raw, de-vained shrimp
– 2 cloves minced garlic
– 3 TBS olive oil
– 1/4 tsp salt
– 1/2 lemon juiced
– about 12 slices bacon cut in half
Ingredients for the Honey Cheddar Polenta
– 2 TBS olive oil
– 1/2 onion minced
– 4 1/2 cups of chicken broth
– 1 1/4 cups yellow cornmeal
– 3/4 cup shredded cheddar cheese
– 3/4 cup milk
– 5 TBS butter
– 1/4 cup honey, plus extra to drizzle
– 1/2 tsp salt
– 1 TBS chopped green onion or chives for garnish
Directions for the Shrimp
1. In a shallow pan or bowl mix garlic, olive oil, salt, and lemon juice. Add the shrimp and toss to coat. Marinate in the refrigerator for 20 minutes tossing shrimp again half way through.
2. Position oven racks closest to the heating element and preheat the broiler.
3. After the shrimp is finished marinating wrap 1/2 piece of bacon around each one. Place on a baking sheet with the seam side down.
4. Broil until bacon is cooked and crisp and shrimp is cooked, turning halfway through. Broiler times can vary but should be about 6 minutes.
Directions for the Polenta (For the shrimp and polenta to be done at about the same time, put the shrimp in the oven in the middle of step 5 of the polenta.)
1. Heat olive oil in large pot over medium heat. Add onions and cook until they are translucent.
2. Add the chicken broth, and bring to a boil. Gradually whisk in the cornmeal.
3. Turn the heat to low, and cook for 15 minutes stirring often.
4. While the cornmeal/broth mixture is cooking, in a medium mixing bowl combine the cheddar, milk, honey and butter.
5. After the 15 minutes is up remove the cornmeal from heat, and stir in the cheddar, milk, and butter mixture until combined. Salt and pepper to taste.
Top the polenta with the bacon wrapped shrimp. Drizzle honey over the entire dish and sprinkle the chopped green onion of top. Serve and enjoy!