There is chocolate all over the inter-webs. All. Over. Chocolate, heart-shaped stuffs are here there and everywhere and I've decided to detour. I love chocolate just as much as the next gal but I wanted to contribute something a little different and off the beaten path. Chipotle shrimp with creamy polenta is simple to make (gentlemen, I'm talking to you!) and it has spice (a known aphrodisiac) and luxurious polenta that has been combined with tangy sour cream.
As I made this dish the other day, I was reminded of the first Valentine's Day Brad and I spent together. I wanted to impress him with something delicious, exotic, and like nothing he'd ever eaten before. I settled on red curry coconut soup with shrimp. It was beautiful. I somehow found huge, lovely shrimp in the middle of the Iowa corn fields (I don't care to think about how that was made possible) and the little kitchen in his on-campus house smelled divine. We sat down with a couple glasses of wine, dim lights, and bowls full of what I was sure would be a triumphant success of a meal.
Bless his heart, Brad took two bites before he said what we both were thinking. It was blazing hot and our mouths were almost certainly on fire. We ditched the wine and opted instead for splitting a gallon of milk to rid our tongues of the miserable sting of too much red curry.
On the one hand, I was heart-broken that I had ruined our first Valentine's Day meal. On the other hand, I was comforted that Brad cared enough so early in our relationship to endure a few bites of something completely inedible just to spare my feelings.
That humiliating experience has not gone far from my thoughts each and every time this holiday rolls around. This year, I think I've done it right. This dish is a perfect combination of slight heat balanced by the creamy sour cream spiked polenta.
And go ahead...follow it up with one of the many chocolate desserts. I know I will!
Chipotle Shrimp over Creamy Polenta
For the polenta:
For the shrimp:
- 1 cup stone ground (not instant) polenta
- 1/2 cup sour cream
- salt and pepper to taste
- Fresh baby spinach or other greens for garnish
- 8-10 large shrimp, shelled and deveined
- 2 teaspoons chipotle powder
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- salt and pepper to taste
- Move an oven rack to the top position.
- Preheat the broiler.
- Bring 4 cups of water to a rolling boil in a medium saucepan.
- Whisk the polenta into the water. Continue whisking until the polenta has thickened slightly and there are no lumps.
- Reduce the heat to medium low and cook for an additional 20-30 minutes or until the polenta is tender.
- Turn off the heat. Stir in the sour cream and season to taste with salt and pepper. Keep warm while you make the shrimp.
- Toss the shrimp in a bowl with the olive oil, chipotle powder, salt and pepper and transfer it to a large, rimmed sheet pan. Make sure the shrimp are in a single layer with a little space between them.
- Place the shrimp under the broil and cook until they are pink and just firm, about 3 minutes.
- Ladle some of the polenta into 2 serving bowls. Top with handful of baby spinach and divide the shrimp evenly and arrange on top the spinach.
- Serve immediately.