Two weekends ago, I visited the Mississippi Farmer’s Market in downtown Jackson for the first time. I just love a good farmer’s market! The excitement was bubbling up inside me for over a week. Just a few treasures I picked included a jar of awesome homemade salsa, two pints of strawberries, and a lovely 8 x 10 oil-painting of sunflowers that now brightens up my desk at work.
My main goal was to come away with a few pounds of fresh Gulf shrimp for dinner than night. When the shrimp-monger (is that a word??) pulled pack the lid of his ice chest to reveal these BIG (and I mean big!), beautiful, whole jumbo shrimp, I wanted to do a little jig in delight. If I had tried to purchase these in a grocery store, I would have spent a fortune and it’s not likely they would have been caught within the last 24 hours.
After having such great success with polenta, I knew shrimp and grits was the only way to go. Some shrimp and grit recipes call for quick cooking (not instant) grits. But I prefer the texture of slow cooked polenta. The taste of this shrimp was out of this world – sweet and tender. So different from the little frozen guys I’m used to buying. I will be going back to the farmer’s market – often – if for no other reason that for fresh Gulf shrimp.
- 1 pound shrimp, peeled and deveined
- 4 tablespoons (1/2 stick) unsalted butter
- ¼ cup vegetable oil
- 2 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce
- ½ teaspoon salt
- 2 cloves garlic, crushed
- 2- ⅓ cups whole milk, divided
- 2 tablespoons unsalted butter, divided
- ⅓ cup coarse polenta, or corn grits
- Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
- ½ cup grated Parmesan
- Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
- Combine all ingredients except the shrimp in an 8 x 8 x 2 inch casserole dish.
- Place dish in the oven just until the butter melts, about 5-10 minutes.
- Add shrimp and toss to coat shrimp with the butter mixture.
- Return dish to the oven and bake just until shrimp turn pink and opaque, about 10 minutes.
- Serve shrimp over grits.
- In a medium saucepan, combine 2 cups of milk and 1 tablespoon butter. Bring the mixture to a boil over medium-high heat.
- Reduce heat to low and add polenta. Simmer until polenta is creamy and liquid is absorbed - about 30 minutes - whisking constantly to keep the mixture lump-free.
- Stir in remaining milk and butter. Remove from heat and stir in Parmesan cheese.
- Season with salt and pepper to taste.