Being self employed is very fulfilling, but not very relaxing. I thought I was busy at a 9-5 job with an hour commute either direction. Now I just kind of work from the second I wake up to the second I sleep, with a few minutes of break time in between where I have a life and do important things like clean and feed myself. It’s always important to feed the ravenous beast you know, especially when no one else is going to do it.
All this means that some projects have been left languishing. I haven’t gotten around to actually selling or donating the clothes I purged from my closet two weeks ago, I haven’t finished illustrating my first attempt at writing a picture book, and a few things have died and gone on to food heaven in my refrigerator. (RIP giant pumpkin 2017, you had a short life but you were loved until someone bruised you which caused you to rot and die.) Some things have survived my neglect though. I’ve had a tube of polenta languishing in my fridge for longer than I’d like to admit. I just don’t know what to do with the thing. Of course fresh polenta is spread over the bottom of a bowl and topped with the same kinds of things I’d stick on pasta, or sweetened for breakfast like an Italian grits, but what do you do with a prebaked tube of the stuff? Push it behind the orange juice and a tub of leftovers, apparently.
But not any longer. I decided to slice it and make it dinner. Well, make something pretty similar to it. You know I can’t stand to leave things as-is without a little innovation and craziness thrown into the mix!
This recipe serves four as a side to dinner, or it could serve 8 as an appetizer tray at a party. Also pairs well with heartbreak movies and a pint of icecream. For me I use it to quickly take a bite of food of some sort once every three hours because I need to finish writing a trilogy lickety split and I’ve still got a ways to go, so I just need something quick and handy and easy to eat that uses stuff in the fridge and looks cute and, most importantly of all, gives me energy to keep my nose on the grindstone and power through work. I may also have decided to use this recipe primarily because this is the food I had on hand.
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 1 pound peeled and deveined medium shrimp
- 1/4 cup dry white wine
- 1 tablespoon chopped fresh chives
- 1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
- 1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper (powder form)
- 1 17-ounce tube polenta, cut into 8 (1/2-inch) slices
- 2 teaspoons minced jalapeno
- 8 teaspoons diced tomatoes
- 8 teaspoons grated pepper jack cheese
- 1 tablespoon chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley
- parchment paper
- Preheat broiler. (In my case that means take the pans out of the oven and set the oven to broil on low, because shrimp like low)
- Gather all your ingredients and measure or cut them as directed.
- Heat oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add shrimp to pan; sauté 3 minutes or until pink and ‘C’ shaped, stirring frequently. Remove from heat; stir in wine, juice, jalapenos, and cayenne, tossing to coat. Keep warm.
- Place polenta slices on a baking sheet covered with parchment paper. Broil for 2 minutes. Top each slice with 1 teaspoon tomatoes, then shrimp mixture, then cheese, broil for another minute.
- Place two slices of polenta on each plate. Top with 1 teaspoon cheese, chives, then sprinkle on parsley.