Wednesday, March 14, 2018

Shrimp, Sausage and Polenta

We were in Miami Beach last week and I had a hankering for shrimp and grits. My husband doesn't love that combination and since we were splitting dishes at dinner,  I went without. When we got home, I saw that David Tanis had this wonderful recipe for shrimp, sausage and polenta in the NYT. Are you a David Tanis addict? I am.  His recipes work, without fail. I can't say that about all the food writers I love to read, but I can say that about him. This dish took about an hour to prepare. It tasted great Monday night, I was still eating it for lunch Wednesday and my husband ate it for lunch Friday and I finished it up for dinner Monday night (a week later!). So, it keeps.  I substituted almond milk for creme fraiche, regular Italian sausage for spicy sausage with fennel, and the dish was still magnificent. You will not be sorry.

Polenta and Shrimp: A Marriage of Land and Sea


  • 2 cups polenta
  •  Salt and pepper
  • 4 tablespoons butter
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 ¼ pounds large shrimp (about 24)
  • 1 cup diced onion
  • 8 ounces hot Italian fennel sausage, casings removed (I used regular Italian sausage)
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  •  Crushed red-pepper flakes, to taste
  • ½ teaspoon chopped rosemary or thyme
  • ½ cup white wine
  • ½ cup tomato purée (passata) or chopped tomato
  • ¼ cup crème fraîche (I used almond milk)
  • ¼ cup chopped scallions
  • 2 teaspoons chopped capers (I skipped)
  • 2 tablespoons chopped parsley
  • 1 teaspoon lemon zest


  1. Make the polenta: Bring 8 cups salted water to a boil in a heavy-bottomed pot over high heat. Whisk in polenta, continuing to whisk as mixture begins to thicken, about 1 minute. Turn heat to low and let polenta cook slowly, whisking every few minutes for about 10 minutes. Turn heat to very low and continue to cook for least 45 to 60 minutes, stirring occasionally. If polenta gets too thick to stir easily, add a bit of water to obtain a porridge-like consistency. (When finished, there should be no raw cornmeal flavor.) Taste a cooled spoonful, then correct seasoning with salt and pepper. Turn off heat, whisk in butter and keep warm.
  2. Meanwhile, prepare the topping: Heat olive oil in a large, wide skillet over medium-high heat. When oil shimmers, add shrimp in one layer and season with salt and pepper. Cook for 1 minute, until lightly browned. Using tongs, turn shrimp over, season and cook for 30 seconds more. Remove with a slotted spoon and set aside. (Shrimp will not be fully cooked.)
  3. Add onion to pan and cook, stirring, until softened, about 5 minutes. Add sausage meat and cook, mashing with a large spoon to let sausage crumble into rough half-inch pieces. Continue cooking for 5 to 6 minutes, until mixture is lightly browned. Stir in garlic, red-pepper flakes and rosemary, and cook for 1 minute more.
  4. Add wine and tomato purée. Simmer for 1 minute and stir in crème fraîche. Turn off heat and check seasoning. Warm a large serving platter. In a small bowl, mix together scallions, capers, parsley and lemon zest.
  5. To finish, turn heat to high. Add reserved shrimp to sausage mixture and cook, stirring, for about 2 minutes, until shrimp are cooked through and sauce has thickened slightly.
  6. Mound polenta into middle of platter. Spoon shrimp and sauce around polenta. Sprinkle with scallion mixture and serve. (Alternatively, place a large spoonful of polenta into individual plates or soup bowls and top with shrimp and sauce.)


  1. Did you try the shrimp and grits at Yardbird in Miami? It's so good! ;)

  2. No! Steve doesn't like shrimp and grits and we were sharing. Next time!


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