My wife and I were discussing how much she likes grits for breakfast and I asked her if she ever has had polenta. She said no, so I suggested that I make her some for dinner. Dinner? As she looked at me funny, I said I bet you will like it, it would be my take on Southern shrimp and grits. So this is what I did.
Start out with good polenta. Make it to the directions on the package substituting one cup of water for one cup of heavy cream, add one stick of butter. Stir together. Add salt and pepper to taste.
Pour off about half of the mixture into a buttered shallow pan if you have one. We are going to save that for another day. We will use this over the weekend for breakfast. Let it cool completely then cover with plastic wrap and put in the fridge. Back to dinner now.
Take the shrimp you are having for dinner and marinate them in some olive oil, and whatever spices you like to make them spicy say some crushed red peppers, garlic, paprika, salt and pepper.
With the rest of the polenta in the pot add about 2 cups of cheddar cheese and mix in until its smooth, if necessary loosen the mixture a little with some more heavy cream. You are looking for a consistency of very thick applesauce. Put the bowl off to the side over very low heat and cook the shrimp.
Heat a non stick pan to medium high, add the shrimp, and cook a few minutes a side just until done. Scoop some of the hot cheesy polenta into a bowl and top with the spicy shrimp. Serve with a nice cool glass of your favorite white wine. As for my wife she now likes polenta just as much as grits.
For a nice weekend brunch or even a light weeknight dinner a quiche always works. You can change the fillings and spices to have something different every time. My wife makes the dough as she enjoys baking.
For the dough:
1 1/2 cup flour
4-5 tablespoons cold milk
4 tbsp unsalted butter cold – cut into small chunks
4 tbsp shortening cold – broken up into small chunks
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon cracked black pepper
Mix the flour, salt and pepper together. Add in, alternating, the butter and shortening into the flour. Using a dough blender or a fork, combine until the dough is coarse pebbles. Add in 4 tbsp of milk and bring the dough together in a ball, if it is still dry, add more cold milk. Take the dough and wrap with plastic wrap and place in the fridge for about 30 minutes to chill.
Roll out the dough and place in a nine in pie plate.
For the filling:
6 large eggs, beaten
1 1/2 cups milk
6 strips of bacon
1 cup frozen spinach, drained and chopped
1 cup shredded cheddar cheese
1 onion, chopped
1 tbsp garlic, finely diced
2 tsp salt
2 tsp pepper
In a large saucepan cook the bacon until crispy, place them on a paper towel to drain any excess oil. Do not discard the bacon grease left in the pan. Chop the bacon into chunks.
In the saucepan add in the onions and garlic and cook until softened. Remove from pan.
In a large bowl whisk the eggs and milk. Stir in salt, pepper, onions and garlic.
Place the egg mixture in the rolled out dough in the pie plate. Place the chopped bacon, cheese and spinach carefully in the egg mixture.
Cook at 375 F for about 35-45 minutes until eggs are set.