A serious bouche-amuser: Crispy Polenta and Garlic Shrimp


…because everyone has a food model handy.

In order to understand the above picture, you need to understand my family around Christmas time.  We’re Jewish, with a Catholic dad. This means– thankfully–we are not subjected to the Chinese Food + TBS movie on Christmas Eve cliché, but we’re not exactly celebrating Jesus’ birthday either. So, naturally, we do as any other family in a similar situation does… put on a series of elaborate Christmas dinners, where the five of us take an imaginary adventure to some other time/place in bizarre costumes and toast to each other with bad accents, acting in line with offensive and/or inaccurate stereotypes. (Some gems from years past are below).

This year, I was passed the baton and was charged with taking my family on a culinary journey on Christmas Eve. Equipped with a sous-chef (my little brother), I, Frau Lulu, countess of a small Swiss village, served my esteemed guests an elaborate four-course meal in my modest country home. First on the menu, presented above ever so elegantly by one of my guests, the internationally recognized singer-model  Ze Frau Emilie, was the amuse-bouche: polenta discs with garlic shrimp, marinara sauce and goat cheese.

Serves about 14 discs, 2-3 per person

  • 1 tube pre-cooked polenta (in the pasta aisle)
  • 12 shrimp, raw, de-shelled and de-veined
  • garlic
  • marinara sauce, preferably homemade
  • goat cheese
  • S/P
  • Italian seasoning

food11)  slice the polenta into about 12-14 even slices. Season them each with S/P and Italian seasoning

2) heat a large skillet with olive oil to medium-high heat and saute the polenta. About 10 mins

3) While polenta cooks, heat another skillet. Mix shrimp with 2 T olive oil and 3 crushed garlic cloves in a small bowl. Season with S/P and place gently into skillet.  Once the shrimp hit the pan, do not flip them for 2 minutes to ensure they get good color. Turn off heat once they are pink and seared.

4) Once the polenta are crispy, place them on a large ungreased cookie sheet. Place 1 shrimp on each polenta disc, then add 1 teaspoon of marinara. Crumble an ample amount of goat cheese on top of each disk.

5) place in the oven and broil for about 5 minutes.  Watch constantly to make sure nothing burns.

6) wait about 5 minutes before transferring to a pretty plate. Serve and enjoy!

Here are some of those gems mentioned above:

Disco Christmas

Disco Christmas 2010

"Arabian Nights"...yea, this happened too.

“Arabian Nights”…yea, this happened too. Christmas 2011

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