Friday, December 5, 2014

Brown Butter Shrimp Scampi on Crispy Parmesan Polenta Cakes with Sun Dried Red Pepper Puree, Slow Roasted Cherry Tomatoes, + a Drizzle of Balsamic Reduction

Brown Butter Shrimp Scampi on Crispy Parmesan Polenta Cakes with Sun Dried Red
 Pepper Puree, Slow Roasted Cherry Tomatoes, + a Drizzle of Balsamic Reduction
As y'all all know, we love us some shrimp + grits on the Haute + Heirloom blog. Matter of fact, it's my Mountain Man's favorite meal. He loves it so much that he asked the executive chef at our wedding venue, JCT Kitchen + Bar, to create a custom shrimp + grits entree featuring pimento cheese grits and smokey andouille sausage. So far, our favorite recipe for this famous southern dish is The Most Ridiculous Blackened Cajun Shrimp + Pimento Cheese Grits with Tomato-Tabasco-Andouille Gravy, Collard Green Pesto, Crispy Soft Poached Eggs, + Candied Bacon because, well, it's a dixieland delight. Our second loved recipe, BBQ Shrimp + Charred Corn-Goat Cheese Grits with Roasted Rainbow Cherry Tomatoes, Country Ham, + Red Eye Gravy, went in a completely different direction, but is just as satisfying. I think this low-country classic is so extremely versatile that it can adapt to almost every type of cuisine. I can visualize each new recipe in my head already... Asian, Classical French, Caribbean, Spanish, Mexican, and Italian. Well, today's recipe is gonna feature an Italian twist. It starts off with some slow roasted cherry tomatoes because it's one of my favorite ingredients and I love the concentrated tomato flavor that you achieve just by cooking them low + slow. As you open up the oven door, your mouth begins to open along with it because they look like gorgeous little tomato jewels. Recently, I have been beyond-obsessed with Delallo's Sweet + Tangy Sun-Dried Red Peppers. We seriously can't get enough of them. They are amazing on pizza, in pasta dishes, added into hummus, and blended into an aioli. We chose to use it by making it into a thick red pepper puree. For the crispy parmesan polenta cakes, you can either go the easy route or the more-labor intensive route. While I normally go with the harder route, we decided to forgo that option and by one of the tubes of polenta that you can buy at your local grocery store. It's so easy-peasy because all you have to do is slice them into thick rounds, and then they are ready to be fried in olive oil until they reach a perfectly golden brown color and an utterly crispy outside. I also freshly grated parmesan on top of the fried cakes for that nutty, salty flavor we all just can't live without. Now onto the most important component, the shrimp, duh. And what is more Italian than Shrimp Scampi? The classic recipe for Scampi is already fabulous, but guess what, it's even better this way! My way involves lots of brown butter, fresh garlic, white wine, lots of italian herbs, and some lemon juice. Juicy shrimp + brown butter + slow roasted cherry tomatoes = a winning combination that should be considered our new favorite celebrity couple. Assembling this dish was by far my favorite part, besides eating if of course, because of all the rich colors that just pop off the plate. Start by creating a sun dried red pepper puree puddle in the middle of your plate, followed by plopping a crispy parmesan polenta cake on top of your puree, and then finally spooning all that brown-butter-shrimp-scampi goodness into a mountain that almost completely covers your cakes. Garnish the final dish with a drizzle of balsamic reduction and a-whole-mess of herbs for color + flavor. And I just have to say that this Italian spin on shrimp + grits was wildly successful, so I think y'all should make it too!! Enjoy :)
the beginnings of slow roasted rainbow cherry tomatoes
brown butter. slow roasted tomatoes. fresh herbs. garlic. juicy shrimp. 
brown butter shrimp scampi goodness is coming your way...
sun dried red pepper puree. crispy parmesan polenta cake. brown butter shrimp scampi.
slow roasted cherry tomatoes. fresh herbs. balsamic reduction. 
now try and tell me that this dish isn't perfection because it certainly is 
okay enough of the chit-chat, i'm ready to dig into this.
Roasted Rainbow Cherry Tomatoes:
2C Rainbow Cherry Tomatoes, Cut in Half
Olive Oil, For Drizzling
Salt & Pepper
Fresh Rosemary Sprigs

For the Sun Dried Red Pepper Puree:
1 Container of Delallo Sun Dried Red Peppers, Drained & Patted Dry (as good as possible)
1 Bulb of Roasted Garlic
Salt, Fresh Cracked Pepper, & Sugar (to taste)
1T Freshly Squeezed Lemon Juice
Water or Chicken Stock, For Thinning the Puree (if this is even needed)

For the Crispy Polenta Cakes:
1 Tube of Store-Bought of Polenta, Cut into Thick Slices
AP Flour, For Dusting the Polenta Cakes
EVOO, For Frying
A Pinch of Salt & Pepper on Each Slice of Polenta
Freshly Grated Parmesan, For Topping the Cakes

For the Brown Butter Shrimp Scampi:
1lb pound of Fresh Georgia Shrimp, Peeled + Deveined
1 Stick of Unsalted Butter, Melted + Browned
6 Cloves of Garlic, Cut into Thin Sliced (so that they are slivered)
1t Dried Red Pepper Flakes (we like ours spicy, if you don’t, then decrease to your liking)
½C White Wine
2T Fresh Parsley, Finely Chopped
1T Fresh Basil, Finely Chopped
1T Freshly Squeezed Lemon Juice
Salt + Pepper, To Taste
Prepared Slow Roasted Rainbow Cherry Tomatoes
Homemade Balsamic Reduction, For Drizzling

1. For the Roasted Rainbow Cherry Tomatoes: Preheat oven to 400 °. Toss tomatoes with olive oil and kosher salt and arrange on a sheet pan cut side up. Top the tomatoes with a few sprigs of rosemary. Cook for approximately one hour until they are soft, shriveling, and turning golden brown.
2. For the Sun Dried Red Pepper Puree: In a food processor, add in the drained + dried Delallo sun dried red peppers (of oil), along with the roasted garlic cloves. Begin to puree the mixture, while it is still on, drizzle in the olive oil until you have reached your desired thickness. If you find it too thick for your tastes, then add some water or chicken stock to thin it out a little bit. Season to taste with salt, fresh cracked pepper, and sugar if needed. Once you have made your perfect puree, set it aside until you are ready to assemble the dish.
3. For the Crispy Polenta Cakes: Cut the tube of polenta into thick slices, and then dust them in a little AP flour and shake off any excess. Heat about 1-2 inches of olive oil in a sauté pan over medium-high heat. Once the pan is hot and starting to smoke just a little, add the polenta circles. Cook the polenta on both sides or until they are golden brown in color and have crisp edges. Finish by grating it with a little bit Parmesan. Transfer to a serving platter and keep warm until the shrimp scampi is done.
4. For the Brown Butter Shrimp Scampi: Heat a sauté pan on high heat then reduce to medium high heat. Swirl the butter and olive oil into the pan. After the butter melts it will foam up a bit then it will begin to subside. If using unsalted butter, sprinkle a little salt in the pan. Stir in the slivered garlic and red pepper flakes. Sautee the garlic for 1-2 minutes or until it begins to brown around the edges, and then add in the prepared shrimp. Pour in the white wine and brown butter and stir to coat the shrimp in the sauce that has formed in the pan. Make sure to keep the shrimp in an even layer in the pan, so that they all cook and brown at the same speed. Increase the heat to high and boil the sauce (with the shrimp) for 2-3 minutes or until is has become a cohesive, silky sauce. Stir or fold the shrimp again into the sauce, making sure to flip them over, so that the other side browns some as well (this should only take about 1 minute). Gently add in the slow roasted tomatoes into the pan and fold them in with the shrimp (the more gentle you are, you are more likely to have solid pieces of tomatoes that don’t break down into a tomato sauce, we want them whole). Remove this mixture off the heat add in the fresh parsley, basil, & lemon juice. Season with salt + pepper to taste. Finally, toss all of the ingredients together until your brown butter shrimp scampi is absolutely perfect.
5. Assembling the Brown Butter Shrimp Scampi + Crispy Polenta Cakes: Spoon the sun dried red pepper puree into a thick circle in the center of a plate. Top the puree with a crispy Parmesan polenta cakes, followed by some brown butter shrimp scampi with roasted tomatoes. Finally garnish the plate with some more herbs and a drizzle of balsamic reduction. Enjoy while it is still hot!!

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