Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Shrimp and Bacon on Polenta

By Paul Briand

This recipe grew from a desire to use up some leftover polenta and the serendipity of finding a shrimp, bacon and polenta recipe while trolling through an Associated Press feed on my BlackBerry.

We had about a half pound of leftover polenta in the refrigerator, and I hated just seeing it sit there and I hated the idea of tossing it. The AP recipe calls for you to make a batch of instant polenta, jazzing it up a bit with milk instead of water and shallots and Parmesan cheese.

What I had in the fridge was about a half a pound of the rolled, prepared polenta that you can slice to fry or grill. I crumbled it up and cooked it in a wok in the bacon fat, which flavored up the otherwise bland polenta.

Also, because it's easy, I use frozen cooked shrimp, the biggest I can find at the store, a 16 count in a 1 pound bag. Thaw the shrimp by placing them in a large bowl of water.

1/2 pound of prepared polenta
1 pound of shrimp
1/2 pound bacon, cut into 1/2-inch pieces
3 cloves minced
1 shallot, chopped
1 red bell pepper, sliced
2 ounces Parmesan cheese

1. In a wok or large frying pan over medium-high heat, cook the bacon until it's crispy;
2. Add the pepper, shallot and garlic;
3. After about three minutes add the shrimp and cook until pieces are heated through and pepper is tender;
4. Using slotted spoon remove mixture from wok and set aside; drain about half of bacon fat and return wok to heat;
5. Crumble polenta into wok and work it around to heat through and absorb bacon drippings;
6. Return shrimp and bacon mixture to wok;
7. Top with Parmesan cheese;
8. Heat through and serve.
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