Tuesday, January 22, 2008

Shrimp & Polenta vs. Shrimp and Polenta

I had a roll of store-bought. I had some shrimp. I wanted them to unite, but I wasn't exactly sure what direction to go. Jack suggested a Shrimp Polenta Battle! We've done something similar with shrimp before, but not for the same night! Sounded fun to me.

Allez Cuisine!

Ironstef's dish:

Pepperoncini Shrimp with Pancetta and
a Balsamic Reduction over Polenta

-1/4 olive oil
-3 tablespoons minced pepperoncini
-4 cloves garlic-minced

-1/2 bag frozen shrimp (medium), thawed.

-4 slices pancetta.

-2 1/2 inch slices of polenta from a pre-made roll.

-Reduced balsamic vinegar: heat 1/4 cup of balsamic vinegar and 1 tsp. honey in sauce pan over med/high heat until reduced by more than half. It should be a syrup consistency.

1. Cook pepperoncini and garlic in olive oil for about 6 or 7 minutes. Taste and adjust flavor using salt and pepper. Set aside while you cook polenta and pancetta, to let the flavors infuse into the oil a bit more.

2. Cook Pancetta in a skillet until crispy. Remove pancetta and add the slices of polenta to the skillet (add some oilve oil to the pan if the drippings from the pancetta don't seem like enough to cook the polenta). Cook until well browned on both sides.

3. Add shrimp to pepperoncini oil and just heat through. Spoon shrimp and sauce over fried polenta disc, drizzle with balsamic reduction and garnish with the pancetta.

Challenger Jack's dish:

Honey Chipotle Shrimp
over Polenta

-2 tbsp minced garlic
-2 tbsp minced shallot
-1/3 cup red bell pepper, diced fine
-1/3 cup green bell pepper, diced fine
-2 tbsp olive oil
-1/2 chipotle pepper, seeds removed, minced
-1 tbsp adobo sauce
-Honey to taste (a teaspoon or 2)
-1/2 package frozen shrimp (medium)

Sautee garlic and shallots in olive oil with a pinch of salt for 30-45 seconds. Add the chipotle pepper and adobo sauce. Add honey until you reach desired sweetness. Stir until heated through. Add frozen shrimp and cook until heated through. Remove shrimp and reduce remaining liquid until slightly thick. Return shrimp to heat and toss with the diced bell peppers. Heat through and serve on 1/2 inch polenta slices that have been fried in skillet with butter.

So who's cuisine reigned supreme? Well, we didn't actually score them or pick a winner. It was all in fun, and both were really really tasty. Next time, though, I'm springing for better shrimp. Frozen medium cooked shrimp are cheap for a REASON!

What would you do with the secret ingredients?

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