Barbecue Shrimp Over Aged Cheddar Polenta is a recipe variation of New Orleans style barbecue shrimp served over creamy aged-cheddar polenta for an elegant and tasty meal. This is a sponsored post written by me on behalf of Acme Markets. The opinions are all mine and not influenced in any way. This recipe was part of a seafood round-up created for the Acme Market's newsletter, The Weekly Nibble.
Shrimp and grits are a southern classic, but I added a creole twist to create this flavorful barbecue version. New Orleans style barbecue shrimp is different than a traditional barbecue flavor, using Worcestershire sauce, butter, and creole seasoning as a base. This rich broth is so good I could drink it with a straw. Grab a really good baguette and sop it up! I'd run a marathon just to eat seconds.
How To Make Polenta
I love making fresh polenta. This fresh stone-ground corn from Anson Mills is pretty amazing. A cooking tip: when adding the polenta to the boiling broth/water, make sure that you pour it in slowly while stirring constantly. I need to emphasize SLOWLY. If you dump, you will clump, so make sure it's a gradual pour.
Are Polenta and Grits The Same Thing?
You might be asking "Is Polenta the same thing as grits?" The answer is yes and no. They are both made from ground corn, but it's actually the type of corn that makes them different. I'm going to save my breath here because the experts over at TheKitchn do an excellent job explaining the difference. If you'd like a polenta vs. grits lesson, you can read all about it here.
Now let's move along to this epic version of shrimp and grits...
Tips For Buying Shrimp
- If you're lucky enough to live near the coast or freshwater where fresh shrimp is available, that's always a great option. Cook the shrimp as soon as possible after purchasing for best texture and flavor.
- When buying shrimp from your local grocery store or fish market, go for the frozen bagged shrimp with the shell on and heads removed. The "fresh" shrimp you see in the seafood case have been previously frozen (for who knows how long), so it's better to thaw them yourself so you have control of the thawing process. If you do buy the fresh shrimp, look for shrimp with shiny shells and no black spots. They should smell like the sea, but not like ammonia. That's a sign that they are going bad. I like to do the sniff test before buying. Fresh shrimp should also be firm and not limp or slimy.
- Deveining can be a royal pain, so I love it when I find individually frozen raw deveined shrimp with the shells on. Publix carries large, sustainably farmed, deveined frozen shrimp in their Greenwise line.
Just look at all that saucy goodness...
This shrimp and grits recipe is one of my all-time favorite seafood dishes. I love this flavorful and unique twist on a southern classic.
Want a bite?!
Barbecue Shrimp Over Aged Cheddar Polenta
- For the shrimp:
- 1 ½ lbs shrimp peeled and deveined
- 1 cup butter, cold, unsalted, and cubed (2 sticks)
- ⅓ cup olive oil
- 2 large green onions finely chopped
- 1 tsp white pepper
- 1 tsp freshly cracked black pepper
- 2 tbsp fresh lemon juice
- ⅓ cup Worcestershire sauce
- 2 garlic cloves minced
- 1 ½ tsp cajun seasoning
- fresh parsley for garnish
- For the polenta:
- 1 cup polenta
- 2 cups water
- 2 cups chicken broth
- 8 oz block aged white cheddar cheese freshly grated
- 1 tsp sea salt
- 2 tbsp butter
- First prepare the polenta:
- Bring broth, salt and water to a boil over medium-high heat.
- Slowly, add polenta, while whisking and continue to stir until slightly thickened.
- Reduce heat to low and keep whisking until it begins to have a creamier consistency.
- Cover and cook for 30-40 minutes, checking and stirring every 8-10 minutes.
- Make sure to scrape down sides while stirring.
- When desired texture is achieved (whether you like them creamy or thicker), stir in cheese and butter until melted and set aside to keep warm.
- For the shrimp:
- Warm olive oil in a large sauté pan over medium heat.
- Saute garlic until lightly golden.
- Add lemon juice, Worcestershire, onions, white and black pepper, cajun seasoning and shrimp to the pan.
- Raise heat to medium-high and cook 2-3 minutes until shrimp are no longer pink. Slowly, add in butter, while stirring constantly until butter is all melted, being careful not to burn.
- Spoon polenta into a bowl and add a few shrimp on top.
- Spoon a little of of the juice on top and garnish with fresh parsley.
- You can also serve this with baguettes to soak up all that saucy goodness.
- Serve immediately.