I like my quick vegetarian meals. I can turn out an easy dinner with very little preparation, and it always tastes good. Lately, though, I’ve been wanting some variety in my diet.
I’ve now checked sardines off the list of foods I’ve never eaten at home. They were excellent in pasta with broccoli rabe, pine nuts, and golden raisins. The other day I bought anchovy paste so that I could play around with flavor. I’m open to anchovy suggestions if anyone out there has some…
And now, I can check off shrimp. I order shrimp at restaurants occasionally, but I’m not a diehard fan. Nevertheless, shrimp is a quick-cooking protein and I figured I’d take it for a spin at home for a change. I found some decently sustainable frozen shrimp at Whole Foods. They defrost quickly either overnight in the fridge or under cold running water for about 6 minutes.
I sautéed some onion and garlic in a pan, added the shrimp, and a heaping few handfuls of spring spinach from the Columbia Greenmarket.
Served atop a bed of soft, Farmer Ground Flour polenta from my local butcher, Harlem Shambles ($5 for a big bag!). I like to cook polenta in mostly water with a little milk, and I finish it with a pat of butter, a few grates of Parmesan, and a few dabs of plain Greek yogurt. Creamy and dreamy. Don’t forget the black pepper!
Earlier in the week, I baked a bunch of sweet potatoes (fork them all around, bake in the oven for about an hour or until soft), so I added a half to this dinner.
Soft polenta, sautéed spinach and shrimp, with a little roasted sweet potato. A fine meal.
Makes 4-6 servings
1 cup polenta
4 cups water
1 cup milk
1 teaspoon salt
1/3 cup grated Parmesan
1 tablespoon Greek yogurt
1 tablespoon butter
fresh ground black pepper
Place 1 cup of dried polenta in a medium sized bowl. Top with one cup cold water. Set aside.
In a medium sized sauce pan bring 1 cup of milk and remaining 3 cups of water to a boil. Once boiling, add salt. Slowly whisk the polenta/water mixture into the boiling milk mixture. Turn flame down to medium low. The time the polenta takes to cook will depend on weather you’re using fine grain or course polenta. However long it takes, stir occasionally until you’re reached a desired thickness.
Turn of flame and add grated parmesan cheese, Greek yogurt, and a pat of butter. Grind some black pepper over the top. Stir to incorporate.
Sautéed Spinach and Shrimp
makes about 4-5 servings
1 tablespoon oil (canola or olive work fine)
1 onion, chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 pound shrimp (defrosted if frozen), rinsed and patted dry
2-4 heaping handfuls of chopped spinach
Heat oil in a large skillet on medium high heat. Add the chopped onion and cook for about 3 minutes, until translucent. Add the garlic and cook one minute more. Add the shrimp and cook for about 2 minutes on each side or until lightly pink.
Add the spinach to the pan and stir until slightly wilted. Sprinkle with a few pinches of salt, to taste.
Serve atop a soft bed of polenta.