Hello from Idaho, friends! So far, I’ve been working the fields to dig up spuds, eating my fair share of potatoes, and enjoying Idaho sunsets. It’s so peaceful out here, and it is a welcome break from city life in California. I can’t wait to be horseback riding for the first time later today, and I’ll be sure to share photos from this trip!
Today’s a special day because we’re having a virtual baby shower for Michelle from Vitamin Sunshine! One of the most popular recipes on my blog are these shrimp spring rolls with peanut sauce, which were adapted from Michelle’s fresh spring rolls recipe. If you haven’t tried out that these spring rolls recipes, what are you waiting for? They’re so delicious and easy to make.
I’m so happy to be joining a great group of food bloggers to celebrate the birth of Michelle’s baby boy, Xander! We’re having a sea themed baby shower, and I am bringing my cheesy shrimp polenta bites to the party.
What is a party without prizes, right? To celebrate the festivities, we’re giving away a 14-piece box of Sizzlefish. That’s right, fresh seafood delivered right to your door! I used the Wild Caught Gulf Shrimp for these polenta appetizers, and I thought that the size and texture of the shrimp was perfect. Be sure to check out the giveaway details below for a chance to win some amazing seafood.
MASTER LISA’S MISTAKES (AKA COOKING NOTES)
Make sure that you start whisking the cornmeal right when you pour it into the boiling liquids. The cornmeal clumps up very quickly, and you don’t want to find lumps of cornmeal in your polenta.
I’ve also tried pan frying these bites with olive oil. It cooked a bit faster than the oven, but the texture of baked polenta bites is much better. The baked version is crispier and draws out the flavor of the cheese more. The pan-fried version just tasted greasier.
The sun-dried tomato pesto is not necessary for enjoying the polenta bites, but I thought it added a nice flavor.
Crispy, cheesy polenta bites are topped with shrimp, tomatoes, feta, and sun-dried tomato pesto. Perfect as an appetizer! Serves 20.
2 cups (480ml) low-fat milk (I used 2% milk)
1 cup (240ml) water
1 cup cornmeal (140g)
salt and pepper, to taste
1 TBS butter
1 cup (3oz/85g) cheese (I used a mixture of parmesan and cheddar)
1 1/2 TBS olive oil
1 lb (450g) shrimp, shelled and deveined
Sun-Dried Tomato Pesto (optional)
2 oz (55g) sun-dried tomatoes
1 small tomato (about 100g), seeded and chopped
1 oz (30g) walnuts
0.75 oz (20g) parmesan cheese
1 TBS olive oil
2 tsp lemon juice
pinch of salt
Grease a 9x13-inch baking pan with olive oil or cooking spray. Set aside.
Boil milk and water in a large saucepan over medium-high heat. When the liquids boil, add a pinch of salt and some pepper. Add corn meal and whisk immediately to prevent clumping. Reduce heat to a simmer and whisk cornmeal frequently.
In 2 to 3 minutes, when the cornmeal mixture thickens, turn off the heat. The cornmeal should have soaked up nearly all liquids at this point. Stir in the butter and cheese.
Pour polenta onto the prepared baking pan and spread evenly. I find using a greased rubber spatula makes this step much easier. Cover pan with plastic wrap and refrigerate for an hour or overnight.
Preheat oven to 400 degrees F (205 degrees C). Line a large baking sheet with parchment paper and grease with cooking spray.
Take the polenta out of the refrigerator. Run a rubber spatula or a knife around the edges to help release the polenta. Flip the pan upside down on top of a cutting board. Using a 2-inch cookie cutter, cut out polenta rounds. You should be able to get 20 of them.
Place polenta rounds on top of the lined baking sheet and bake for 20 minutes, flipping halfway through.
Start cooking shrimp when there is about 10 minutes left for the polenta. Heat oil over a sauté pan over medium-high heat. When the pan is hot, add shrimp. Cook each side for 3 to 4 minutes.
If you want to try the sun-dried tomato pesto, blitz all the pesto ingredients in a food processor or blender. If the pesto is too thick, add water one tablespoon at a time. You may need to adjust the salt if you add more water.
Serve polenta bites with some pesto (if using), shrimp, tomatoes, feta, and microgreens. Enjoy!
A big thanks to Sizzlefish.com for donating the fabulous prize for our Giveaway!
The giveaway will be open from September 30 to October 12, 2015 (13 days). It ends on October 12 at 11:59pm EST (New York Time). This giveaway is open to the worldwide audience. If you’re based outside the US, you will receive a $100 Amazon gift card instead.
Be sure to check out all the recipes that my friends have created for Michelle’s baby shower!