Shrimp and Polenta topped with asparagus is a snap to make but also is a comforting and healthy dish reminiscent of shrimp and grits.
- 4 and ½ cups unsalted chicken broth (or use half water and half broth)
- 1 lb. medium or large shrimp, peeled, deveined, tail-on
- 1/2 tsp. ground cumin
- 1/8 tsp. cayenne pepper
- 1 lb. asparagus
- 6 oz. aged cheddar cheese
- 1 and 1/2 cups coarsely ground yellow cornmeal
- 2 Tbsp. unsalted butter
- 1/2 of a lemon cut into 4 wedges
- Pour the broth (or broth and water) into a large saucepan. Add ½ teaspoon of salt. Cover the pot and bring the broth to a boil over high heat.
- While the liquid is coming to a boil, in a medium bowl combine the cumin and cayenne. Add the shrimp and toss to evenly coat them in the seasoning.
- Trim the tough ends off of the asparagus and cut them into 2-inch pieces. Grate the cheese.
- Once the liquid has boiled, remove the pot from the heat. Start whisking as you add the cornmeal in a slow stream (the continuous whisking and slow-streaming prevents clumping). Put the pot over medium heat and stir until it comes to a simmer.
- Reduce heat to low and stir often for 5 minutes, until the polenta is thickened and has had a chance to cook.
- Remove from the heat. Add the cheddar and 1 tablespoon of the butter. Stir until it is thoroughly combined. Taste. I find that it usually needs about ¼ teaspoon more salt. Cover the pot and set it aside.
- Fill a kettle with water and put it on to boil.
- Warm the remaining tablespoon of butter in a large skillet over medium-high heat. A moment after it has completely melted, add the asparagus and ¼ teaspoon of salt. Stir and cook until the asparagus turns bright green, 1-2 minutes.
- Add the shrimp. Stir and cook until the shrimp have turned pink all over, 3-5 minutes. Transfer the shrimp and asparagus to a serving bowl.
- Give your polenta a stir. If it’s gotten really thick or has begun to set add ¼ cup boiling water. Stir. Add a drizzle at a time, stirring after each addition until it’s back to a soft creamy texture.
- Scoop polenta onto plates, top with the shrimp and asparagus, and give everyone a wedge of lemon to squeeze over their plates.