One of the dishes I used to like to order when I was on the road was shrimp & grits. This was not a dish that I grew up with or one that I made, until recently (of course with my own spin on it).
To make my version of this dish I prepared some polenta (follow the instructions on the bag). I use chicken broth (or you can use vegetable broth) instead of water – this gives the polenta a richer flavor. When the polenta is nearly done cooking (remember to stir, stir, stir) I add about a tablespoon of mascarpone, which makes the polenta creamy and yummy. Remove from heat and prepare the shrimp.
In my wok (or sauté pan) I steam some fresh broccoli rabe for about 7 minutes (again I steam this in chicken broth, which removes some of the bitterness). Strain and refresh with cold water. Season with salt, pepper, crushed red pepper flakes, drizzle with a little EVOO and set aside.
Now, back to your wok or sauté pan. Add a little EVOO, when warm add some fresh minced garlic and either fresh chopped onion or scallion and cook for about 3 minutes. Add fresh, cleaned shrimp and sauté until just pink. I usually have mint & basil growing on the patio, so I would mince some up and toss in towards the end of cooking.
Now to plate this baby. Spoon polenta on the plate, top with shrimp and a helping of the broccoli rabe. I garnished with fresh avocado. You can drizzle with EVOO and viola!
Pro-tip: you can use any type of protein and/or veggie for this dish. Chicken would be great or LOBSTER…broccoli or zucchini noodles would work too.
Hubby is away so I am going crazy with putting cheese in everything!
Last night was a quick orecchiette, with sautéed spinach, tons of crushed garlic cloves and red Argentinian shrimp from Trader Joes (sometimes I just don’t feel like going to the fish monger, and these tasty, frozen shrimp are a great Plan B). First get your salted water boiling for the pasta. While this is happening sauté fresh crushed garlic and the shrimp in a little EVOO until shrimp are mostly cooked, then add spinach until cook until wilted (use a large sauté pan as you’ll add the pasta when it’s cooked). When water is rapidly boiling add your pasta cook for 9-10 minutes (or until it’s cooked al dente). Save about a cup of the starchy water and strain the pasta. Add pasta to sauté pan with shrimp, garlic and spinach adding the water if you need to loosen up the mixture. Keep heat on low and mix until well incorporated.
After plating this ‘beaut I topped with red pepper flakes and as much grated cheese as I could get on the plate.
Pro-tip: Did you know that Orecchiette means “little ear” in Italian? Think about that next time you cook it – notice the shape.
My obsession with Trader Joes continues. The hubby is traveling so I took some time to shop and load up on fresh produce and all the products I love from this store. I don’t do a lot of carbs but I am now a bit obsessed with this flatbread. I used it last night for the chicken gyros I made (stand by for that recipe, it was great!) And used one this morning for avocado toast.
I love a super fresh avocado toast. I never order it in a restaurant because it always looks so sad and pale, like it came from a container. TJ’s had super fresh and perfectly ripe avocados yesterday. I like my guac a bit chunky so I roughly mash it, add onion, jalapeño, salt, pepper, and the juice from 1/2 a fresh lemon. I toasted my flatbread, topped with guac, feta cheese, and fresh San Marzano cherry tomatoes cut in half. I usually sprinkle a bit of either cayenne or red pepper flakes on top, but the jalapeño I had today was pretty hot and I didn’t need more heat.
I’m back in the office now (good riddance COVID) so quick dinners after a long day are key now. This dish was so good and super easy to pull together. First, I love to use as few pots/pans as possible, so the order of my construction here is key. I start by sautéing the spinach in a bit of EVOO, a touch of butter, salt, pepper and crushed red pepper. After it’s fully wilted and cooked I removed it from my wok and placed in a bowl in my microwave to keep warm. After that I prepared my polenta using chicken stock instead of water – for added flavor. Polenta is a pain because it needs all of your attention (to avoid lumps & bumps). After slowly drizzling in all of the polenta to the boiling chicken stock I season with a little butter, salt, pepper, and mascarpone while constantly stirring for about 30 minutes on low heat until you end up with the desired consistency (we like it on the thicker side). Then back to the wok – I sautéed the butterflied shrimp (our fish monger had gorgeous tiger prawns that were huge). Before adding the shrimp I quickly sautéed minced garlic, diced fresh tomato and seasonings then tossed in the shrimp (or whatever protein you choose). When the shrimp turn pink they are cooked (time depends on size of shrimp).
To plate this gorgeous dish I put the polenta down first followed by the spinach and then the beautifully sautéed shrimp. I added a garnish of fresh sliced avocado (only because I had it around).