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Gambieri con Polenta

The simple and delicious dish, Gambieri con Polenta is an Italian-influenced take on shrimp and grits. While it makes for an impressive final dish, it’s also easy for cooks of any skill level to make. — Head Chef Billy Brownlee


2 cups Yellow Polenta
6 cups water or shrimp stock
Kosher salt
1 cup hard Italian cheese (Parmesan, Pecorino, Grana, etc.)
1 pound wild Shrimp, peeled and deveined
1 cup diced peppers (use your favorite sweet or hot pepper, I like equal parts red bell and poblano)
1 tablespoon chopped garlic
¼ cup extra virgin olive oil
Juice of 1 lemon
¼ cup freshly chopped herbs (basil, oregano, flat parsley, tarragon, etc.)
Red Chili flakes (optional)
Dry white wine to deglaze (REX HILL Seven Soils Chardonnay)

How To Make

In a pot bring 6 cups of water to a boil and reduce to a simmer, then add 2 teaspoon kosher salt and 2 cups of polenta. Whisk. Do not let water fall below simmer or boil too rapidly.
While polenta is cooking, continue to stir. This part should take 7-10 minutes.
If you are comfortable multitasking: while simmering the polenta, start a large sauté pan on medium heat. Add ¼ cup olive oil, diced peppers, garlic, and 1 tea kosher salt.
Lay the shrimp, flat, in a single layer on a baking sheet. Sprinkle with 2 teaspoons of kosher salt.
Meanwhile, continue to stir the polenta, watching for bubbles. The polenta should thicken to the point that the whisk strokes become visible circles and it is not runny. When it comes to this point stir for another minute and remove from heat.
Taste for salt and correct.
Add 2 tablespoons of cold butter and stir.
Add 1 cup hard-grated cheese and stir.
Cover and set aside on the warm part of the stove.
Your peppers and garlic should be very aromatic at this point. Turn the heat up just a touch and add your shrimp. Stir them in briefly then allow them to sit for two minutes. Stir again and allow to sit. When the shrimp are the proper color on both sides, quickly add lemon juice, ¼ cup. white wine, 2 tablespoons of cold butter, 1 teaspoon, kosher salt, and fresh herbs (chili flakes). Toss or stir vigorously for one minute and turn off the heat. Continue to stir until butter and liquid are combined.
Taste for salt.
For entrée plating: take 4 or 5 flat bowls. Place a large scoop of polenta in the center of each. Make an indention in the center of the polenta with a spoon. Using a slotted spoon, place 4 or 5 shrimps in the indention along with peppers. Spoon or ladle sauce over each plate. Garnish with lemon and fresh herbs. For an appetizer plate, the same concept is on one large platter.
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