Monday, May 5, 2008

Grilled Shrimp w/Harissa & Fresh Corn Polenta

This was essentially "summer menu 3" from "The Flexitarian Table". I almost forgot to take any photos until the meal was nearly done, it was one of those afternoons.
I was unable (until 2 days later!) to find caraway seed for making the home made harissa, so I just added a bit more fennel & cumin to the spice mixture. I did toast & grind the whole spices, which I do think makes a huge difference. I marinated the shrimp for a bit longer than directed due to timing, but I think they still fared ok. I used "large" shrimp but next time would want to use "jumbo" I think. The spices were really nice, some heat from the cayenne but the cumin & fennel makes it more warm than spicy hot. A really wonderful flavor. I grilled them on the stove in a grill pan, next time will do over charcoal.
The polenta was OUT OF THIS WORLD good! I was just going to buy frozen corn, as it is really a bit early for me for fresh sweet corn, but I went to the middle eastern market where produce is super cheap and they had some nice looking corn. I finally made polenta that wasn't too thin or too thick! I think I will use this recipe for all of my polenta needs, it was that awesome. It didn't really need any cheese or cream, it was absolutely delicious - no leftovers!. I did the sauteed cherry tomatoes too, which added a little bit of color to the plate. I used tiny grape tomatoes, which are super sweet. They provided a really nice contrast to the richness of the polenta.
The alternate protein for this is poached/fried eggs atop the polenta, which actually might make it into the weeknight rotation in the fall.

I did leave out the grilled zucchini with mint oil this night, but served it with grilled flatiron steak on Sunday night (sorry no picture). Olive oil is simmered with garlic & red pepper flakes just until the garlic is colored, then mint leaves are added. This is brushed onto the zucchini as they grill. The mint flavor was very subtle, but was an interesting contrast, the garlic seemed quite a bit more present. There were not leftovers of this either!

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