This is my entry for The Jersey Tomato Co Off The Vine Recipe Contest and it is killer!! Growing up in the New Orleans area, I am no stranger to shrimp and grits and this is my Cajun/Italian take on it. Roasted garlic, wine and bacon make the perfect base for the sauce that's loaded with cajun seasoned shrimp. That sauce is then poured on top of a creamy parmesan polenta then topped with Garlic Bread Crumbs for the most insanely crunchy garlicky texture on top.
Roasted Garlic Shrimp and Parmesan Polenta with Crispy Garlic Bread Crumbs
1 Tablespoon butter
1 Tablespoon oil
1 ½ teaspoons minced fresh garlic
½ cup panko breadcrumbs
1 Tablespoon minced fresh parsley
2 Tablespoons olive oil
8 slices bacon, chopped
24 ounces shrimp, peeled and deveined
1 Tablespoon cajun seasoning
½ cup dry white wine
3 Tablespoons butter
3 cups whole milk
3 cups chicken stock
1 ½ teaspoons salt
1 ½ cups yellow grits or polenta
¾ cups parmesan cheese
½ cup fresh basil leaves, roughly torn
Place the butter and oil in an 8-inch skillet, over medium heat, until the butter is melted. Add the garlic and cook until fragrant, about 1-2 minutes. Add the breadcrumbs and cook until lightly browned and toasted, about 3 minutes. Remove the pan from the heat, stir in the parsley and set aside.
In a large skillet set over medium heat add the olive oil and bacon and allow to cook, about 8 minutes, until crisp. Using a slotted spoon, remove the bacon from the oil and place on a plate to use later. Remove all but 2 Tablespoons of the oil from the pan. Season the shrimp with the cajun seasoning and cook until almost cooked through, about 2-3 minutes. Place the shrimp on the same plate with the bacon. Add the wine to the pan and allow to reduce by half. Add the Roasted Garlic Sauce, reduce the heat to low and allow the mixture to simmer.
While the sauce simmers, make the polenta. In a large stock pot set over high heat, bring the butter, milk, and chicken stock to a low boil. Slowly whisk in the salt and polenta, until the mixture is soft and thick, about 5-8 minutes. Remove from the heat, whisk in the parmesan cheese, cover, and set aside.
Stir the bacon and shrimp into the simmering sauce mixture and allow to heat through.
To serve, divide the grits among bowls, spoon the shrimp mixture over top and sprinkle with fresh basil and garlic bread crumbs.
Makes 6 servings
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