Shrimp with Fried Polenta Cakes
- 1 pint (about 2 cups) cherry tomatoes
- 4 tbsp. olive oil, divided
- 1 lb. ‘Nduja or spicy fresh sausage, such as chorizo or andouille
- 1 cup red onion, sliced into petals
- 2 cups white wine
- Black pepper, to taste
- 4 cups packed baby spinach
- 1 lb. fresh wild Atlantic shrimp, peeled and deveined
- 6 oz. butter, chilled and diced
- Salt, to taste
- 8 fried polenta cakes (recipe follows)
- Fried Polenta Cakes
- 3 cups water
- 1 1/2 tsp. kosher salt
- 3/4 cup polenta (or grits)
- Canola oil, for frying
Adapted from gardenandgun.com
Preheat oven to 350ºF. Toss tomatoes with 2 tablespoons olive oil in a shallow ovenproof dish that can hold the tomatoes in a single layer. Roast for 30 to 45 minutes, or until tomatoes collapse and begin to caramelize. (This can be done a day ahead. Bring tomatoes to room temperature before using.)
Heat a large shallow sauté pan over medium-high and add remaining 2 tablespoons olive oil, meat, and onions, breaking up the mixture with the edge of a spoon if necessary. Sauté until onions soften and meat is well browned, about 5 or 6 minutes. Add the white wine and a couple of grinds of black pepper; bring to a boil and cook until it is reduced by almost half. Stir in the roasted tomatoes, spinach, and shrimp, and cook for 2 or 3 minutes, until shrimp is just cooked through. Add butter and stir to make the sauce glossy. Salt as needed.
Spoon mixture over polenta cakes and serve immediately.
Fried Polenta Cakes Recipe:
Combine water and salt in a saucepan and bring to a boil. Slowly whisk in polenta, reduce heat to a low simmer, and cook for 20 to 25 minutes, stirring frequently and adding water if needed to keep the consistency thick but easy to stir. Pour polenta into a lightly oiled loaf pan and refrigerate until cold and hard, about 2 hours or overnight.
When polenta has cooled, invert the pan onto a cutting board and slice the polenta into 8 even pieces. To fry, use a countertop deep fryer or add at least 3 inches of oil to a heavy saucepan and heat to 350ºF. Fry cakes 2 or 3 at a time until they are golden brown, about 4 minutes. Remove to a paper-towel-lined plate and keep warm until ready to serve.