La Festa al Fresco Submission: Shrimp with Tomato and Basil over Polenta

About a week ago, I got a note from the lovely Lis from La Mia Cucina inviting me to participate in La Festa al Fresco. Lis and the equally lovely Ivonne of Cream Puffs in Venice have created this foodie event featuring fresh summer food.

Lis writes on her blog:

Ivonne and I would like to celebrate the final days of another glorious summer with an outdoor feast […] here’s what we need: we need you to show up for the feast with a dish to contribute to the table. You can make anything you like as long as it features one fresh ingredient. Consider it a way to celebrate summer’s bounty! The party is scheduled for September 5th so e-mail me lamiacucina67@gmail.com or Ivonne ivonne@creampuffsinvenice.ca with the link to your post featuring the dish you are sending over.

How could I resist?

The resulting dish is a bit like late summer’s parting kiss: the season’s garden flavors of tomato, basil, and garlic; the sea-salty-yet-sweet firmness of fresh shrimp, and the hint of cooler weather to come in the rich and creamy polenta.

Not only is it delicious but it’s easy to pull together. Dinner can be on the table in 35 minutes or so. There’s one stipulation, however: this meal must be eaten outside with a good glass of wine or a lightly flavored beer. It’s only fitting to soak up waning moments of summer while you can.

Shrimp with Tomato and Basil over Polenta

1 1/2 pounds medium shrimp, peeled and deveined (tails removed)
Coarse salt and ground pepper
6 teaspoons olive oil
3 garlic cloves, minced
1 can (28 oz.) diced tomatoes in juice
palmful of fresh basil
1 lb prepared polenta (suggested: Melissa’s Organic Italian Herb; follow package directions)

Season shrimp with salt and pepper. In a large skillet, heat 4 teaspoons oil over high. Add shrimp; cook until opaque throughout, turning occasionally, 3 minutes. Transfer to a bowl; set aside.

Make sauce: In the same skillet, reduce heat to medium, add remaining 2 teaspoons oil and garlic; cook until fragrant, about 30 seconds. Add canned tomatoes and their juice and bring to a boil. Reduce heat; simmer, stirring occasionally, until tomatoes have softened and are saucy, about 15 minutes. (If the sauce becomes too thick, thin with a bit of water, chicken stock or white wine.)

Meanwhile, in a small pot, heat polenta over a low to medium flame with water to create a mush. Chop basil roughly.

When sauce is ready, add shrimp and basil, seasoning with salt and pepper if necessary, and toss. Serve immediately over polenta, garnishing with basil leaves, if desired.

Serves 4.

Grade: A+

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Categories: Entrees, Grade Range: A- to A+, Seafood

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7 Comments on “La Festa al Fresco Submission: Shrimp with Tomato and Basil over Polenta”

  1. August 21, 2006 at 3:59 pm #

    Laura,What an absolutely gorgeous dish! I especially love that you used it with polenta which we so often neglect in summer, thinking it’s a cold-weather dish.Thank you so much for taking part! Your dish will have a place of honour at our table!

  2. August 21, 2006 at 6:28 pm #

    That looks delicious. Is this another original?

  3. August 22, 2006 at 5:31 am #

    Looks mouth-wateringly good!

  4. August 22, 2006 at 7:46 am #

    Wow.. fantastic dish, Laura Rebecca! I love the combination of flavors.. this just screams FRESH and SUMMERY! Thank you so much for bringing it to the party! How’s the move going? Are you close to being settled in yet? When do we get to see pictures?? 😀

  5. August 22, 2006 at 10:14 am #

    Wow, does this mean that your now wrestling to take tape OFF of boxes instead of wrapping it around them? I hope so, it seems that the masses have missed Laura Rebecca’s postings!

  6. August 22, 2006 at 5:57 pm #

    Wassup, my peeps!Thanks for the kind words! We ARE in the new house and slowly (very slowly) unpacking boxes. Here’s a pic of the exterior of the house: http://redstandard.org/editrix/new%20house.jpg.Here's a partial shot of the kitchen: http://redstandard.org/editrix/kitchentoo.jpg.You'll see in that kitchen pic there’s a Brand-Spanking new, stand-alone range (insert squealing noise here). It’s a Frigidaire Elements with two ovens, flat ceramic top and (AND!!) convection cooking capacities. I’m unhealthily obsessed with it.All in all, I’m pretty thrilled. But about the recipe — Emily, this recipe isn’t an original. It’s a combo of Martha recipes.

  7. August 23, 2006 at 7:57 am #

    Awww pretty house!! Love the kitchen cabinets! And yes, I can so see why you are obsessed with the oven *squeee!* Congrats, sweetie!

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