Cajun shrimp ingredients: shrimp, garlic, honey, lemon, olive oil, balsamic vinegar, thyme, oregano, paprika, cayenne pepper, black pepper, salt.
Polenta ingredients: cornmeal, milk, butter, Grana Padano, black pepper, salt.
Served with: onion, red bell pepper, green peas.
Good lord it’s tough to resume blogging after a vacation!
I didn’t even cook anything for a week. I ate, of course, but fell prey each time to the temptation of cheese & pickle sandwiches and frozen dinners. Cereal was poured. Jars of pasta sauce clinked into the recycle bin.
Thankfully, a few loyal readers encouraged me to snap out of it and get back in the saddle. It wasn’t easy. I was out of kitchen-shape, and feared for my stamina come game time. This was not an unfounded fear, as it turns out, given the shakes I felt while cooking and the exhaustion afterward.
The other problem was that I’d had this particular dish in mind for a few days, but couldn’t commit to the exact details. I kept doubting flavor harmonies, consistencies, presentation ideas. I was fussing, but at least I got it out of the way before I started cooking. Decisiveness is key.
What I decided was to pair the juicy smokiness of grilled Cajun shrimp with the creaminess of polenta. (A similar pairing is found in the traditional US Southern dish of “shrimp ‘n’ grits,” which I have never actually had, but am eager to try now.) I circled the polenta in rings of grilled red bell pepper, which succeeded spectacularly in keeping the plate tidy. The green peas I added for color. I love them alongside mashed potatoes, so I figured they would go well with polenta too.
I was very pleased with my results, and incredibly relieved to be past my kitchen anxieties. Doing dishes afterward still sucked.