This post is sponsored by Colavita
We all crave the smoky char that only comes from cooking outdoors and I think its an unofficial rule of summer that everyone must grill — something. Finding satisfaction can be as easy as hamburgers and hot dogs, or a little more refined, like this Italian-style grilled shrimp and polenta. Let me tell you about my inspiration for this dish…
About a month ago, I received a “care package” from Colavita that was brimming with food swag. I was like a kid on Christmas morning, oohhing and aaahhing over all the cool ingredients. My challenge was to use five of those ingredients in a grilling recipe.
My mind immediately went to pizza. And I made one — actually I made three. But I wasn’t convinced it was the ultimate Italian summer grilling post. Plus, I still had a lot of product left, so I went back to the kitchen. This time, I decided on polenta.
I usually serve polenta soft — and right from the pot — like a corn version of risotto —warm, flecked with herbs and maybe some parmesan that oozes across the plate, waiting to be topped with something wonderful. But Colavita was asking for a grilling post. I’ve never grilled polenta. Hmmm…
Polenta can be pretty bland on its own, so I used a combination of chicken stock, herbs, garlic powder and a little parm to jazz it up.
Then I poured the warm corn mixture into an oiled loaf pan and refrigerated it overnight. (You don’t have to wait that long, though. Just chill until it’s firm).
I sliced the loaf and brushed each piece with a bit of olive oil. (It’s a good idea to oil your grill, too — to prevent sticking.)
I decided to top it with an Italian blend of Colavita’s brined and sun-dried veg with extra large grilled shrimp. Umm-nom-nom!
So while Scott grilled the polenta and shrimp, I assembled the topping. A lemony vinaigrette seasoned with garlic, dijon, salt and pepper and tossed in generous slices of Colavita’s chewy-sweet sun-dried tomatoes and salty brined capers. To that, I added baby artichokes, fresh grape tomatoes, red onion and parsley.
Arrange the polenta on a platter, mound it with the tangy dressed vegetables and topwith those succulent grilled shrimp.
We served it with a few lemon wedges for a tangy spritz and poured a chilled pinot grigio. Like summer grilling — cool, crisp white wine is practically required!
Italian-Style Grilled Shrimp and Polenta
for the polenta
- 1 teaspoon Colavita Extra Virgin Olive Oil
- 2 cups chicken broth
- 1 1/2 cups water
- 1 cup Colavita Instant Polenta Cornmeal
- 1 tablespoon fresh thyme or 1 teaspoon dried thyme
- 1 teaspoon granulated garlic
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1/3 cup parmesan cheese grated
- extra olive oil for brushing
for the shrimp
- 2 cloves garlic minced, divided
- 1 lemon zested
- 1/8 teaspoon red pepper flakes
- 1/4 teaspoon salt divided
- 1/4 teaspoon black pepper divided
- 2 tablespoons Colavita Extra Virgin Olive Oil
- 1 1/2 pounds extra large shrimp U12-15, peeled and deveined
for the topping
- 2 cloves garlic minced
- 1 lemon zested and juiced
- 1 teaspoon dijon mustard
- 3 tablespoons Colavita Extra Virgin Olive Oil
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 1/4 teaspoon black pepper
- 1/3 cup Colavita capers rinsed and drained, patted dry with a paper towel
- 1/3 cup Colavita sun-dried tomatoes drained and thinly sliced
- 1/3 cup red onion thinly sliced
- 1 cup grape tomatoes quartered
- 1 10-ounce jar baby artichokes or artichoke hearts rinsed, drained, patted dry
- 1/2 cup parsley fresh chopped
- bamboo or metal skewers -- if using bamboo soak in water for an hour before grilling
For the Polenta:
- Add olive oil to a small loaf pan and use a paper towel to coat the bottom and sides of the pan. Set aside.
- Add chicken broth, water, thyme, garlic and salt to a medium saucepan and bring to a boil. Slowly add the polenta into the chicken broth, whisking constantly. Continue to whisk and cook polenta for 4-5 minutes. Remove from heat. Stir in the parmesan cheese.
- Pour the polenta into the loaf pan and smooth the top. Cover with plastic wrap and let cool to room temperature. Then refrigerate until firm, several hours or overnight.
Prepare the Shrimp:
- In a medium bowl, combine 2 cloves of the garlic, the lemon zest, red pepper flakes, salt, pepper, and olive oil. Stir to combine. Add the shrimp and toss to coat. Set aside for 15 minutes to marinate.
For the Topping:
- In a medium bowl combine the garlic, lemon zest and juice, dijon mustard, olive oil, salt and pepper. Whisk to combine. Add the capers, sun-dried tomatoes, red onion, grape tomatoes, artichokes and parsley. Toss to combine. Set aside.
For the Grill:
- Thread the shrimp onto skewers.
- Turn the polenta out onto a cutting board. Slice polenta into 1/2" thick slices. Lightly brush them with olive oil. Lightly oil the grill grates and make sure the grill is hot before adding the polenta - it can have a tendency to stick. Grill the polenta for about 3-4 minutes per side. Transfer to a serving platter.
- Grill the shrimp for about 1 1/2-2 minutes per side, until pink and opaque. Transfer to a serving platter.
- To serve: Arrange the polenta on a serving platter. Spoon the topping over the polenta. Arrange the shrimp skewers over the topping. Serve.
You may want to do a test run of grilling the polenta. Use one slice and see how it reacts to your grill. If it sticks, take extra precaution by using "Pam for grilling" or "grill" the polenta on an oiled grill pan inside.
More Summer Seafood:
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