It was getting late, I was getting hungry, and I had no idea what to make for dinner. I hadn't taken anything out of the freezer... My go-to protein when that happens is often shrimp. It thaws so quickly. Dinner options were starting to get narrowed down... barely. I remembered seeing a recent Bobby Flay show where he made shrimp & grits. I've never had that before and it sounded so good. No grits in the house. So I did a little internet search and saw several recipes for shrimp & polenta. Polenta I had. After looking at several recipes, I came up with my own.
The polenta was easy enough: 1/2 cup of coarse corn meal added to 3 cups of boiling water, then simmer for about 20 minutes. When the polenta was finished cooking, I seasoned it with salt and a pat of butter.
For the shrimp component of the dish, I chopped up a couple of strips of bacon and cooked them. In the resulting bacon grease, I sauteed minced red bell pepper and onion. Once they were cooked down, I added a couple of cloves of garlic, minced. Added a big pat of butter, a little white wine, a little tomato paste, a squeeze of fresh orange and lemon (if I'd had a Meyer lemon on hand, I would have just used that), and seasoned the whole thing with creole seasoning and a pinch of salt, and let the liquid reduce. I finally added in about a half pound of shelled and cleaned small shrimp and let them simmer in the liquid until they were cooked through. Checked for seasoning then served the shrimp and sauce over the polenta.
Oh wow. I loved the flavor combination and the different textures between the soft, creamy polenta and the shrimp mixture. I will definitely be making this again.