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Polenta Bites with Pesto, Gorgonzola, and Shrimp

April 28, 2013

Polenta Bites - Shrimp (3)APRIL 27th, 2013 — My film school classmates spent an evening at Dockweiller Beach in Los Angeles to hang out, drink, and commune around a bonfire. to contribute to the pool of s’mores, chips, and wine, I assigned myself to bring the vegan dish and the gluten-free dish. I made an “intense” salad that I might blog about later… but I made these appetizers for the gluten-free folk: polenta bites with, pesto, gorgonzola, and shrimp.

So what did you do?
This is a very simple dish to do.

I got 2 logs of organic corn polenta from Trader Joe’s, and all you need to do is chop them and either pan-fry them or bake them. I chose the bake option. It would be easier to manage and to make sure all the bites are cooked evenly.
I sliced the logs into circular slices and laid them on a sheet lightly greased with olive oil (PAM).
Then, I spooned some cilantro pesto I had bought from the Brentwood Farmers’ Market the previous weekend.
I then added some crumbled gorgonzola. (Goat cheese would have been a great idea as well.)

I sprinkled the whole pan with crushed black pepper and garlic salt, and then proceeded to bake these for 20 minutes in a 350 degree oven.

Polenta Bites - Shrimp (2)Now, because I was using frozen cooked shrimp, I took the bites out after 10-12 minutes, and placed the frozen shrimp pieces on top, and put them back in the oven for the remainder of the 20 minutes.

The results were fantastic. I’ve had pizza before with pesto, cheese, and seafood, was so pleasantly surprised by the compatibility and variety of tastes. Shrimp, [cilantro] pesto, and gorgonzola (which tastes a bit like bleu cheese) have such pronounced and sharp tastes, giving this appetizer more of a character than a typical meat + sauce + cheese appetizer. I’m also glad I put this on baked polenta as opposed to like pizza dough or something, since I think the polenta has more of a taste and texture to contribute as well.

Lessons learned?
Polenta is a really easy ingredient that more people should embrace. By itself, it has more fiber and no fat, and needs minimal cooking time. I’m definitely adding this to my pantry.

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