Grilled Italian Shrimp and Parmesan Polenta with Blistered Tomatoes is my Italian version of Shrimp and Grits.
This is the 30 Minute Meal every Grill Lover shouldn’t miss!
Garlic and lemon shrimp are quickly seared on the barbecue grill.
They are served with a cast iron skillet, cheesy, buttery Parmesan Polenta that is whipped up in minutes right on the grill.
Blistered Tomatoes are juicy flavor-bombs of garlic and basil that perfectly enhance the succulently charred, grilled shrimp.
I just love when one thing makes you think of another and before you know it, you have something new and exciting.
That’s exactly how this dish was created.
My dear friend Robyn Maze (a travel goddess!) and I have decided to plan an Italian Culinary Experience! (Shameless self promotion for this super exciting trip we have decided to host together, I know!)
We want to eat, drink, make cheese, take cooking classes, go to local markets, and get behind the scenes at restaurants, bakeries, and vineyards all over the country.
Basically, we decided to eat-our-hearts-out in Italy and open the trip up to other fellow foodies!
Our ‘Business Dinner’ about this trip was also the recipe inspiration.
What is needed to Grill this recipe?
This recipe will work well for any type of barbecue grill that can be set up for indirect cooking/grilling.
Indirect cooking/grilling means the food is not placed directly over the heat source, but cooks to the side of it.
How to make Grilled Italian Shrimp and Parmesan Polenta with Blistered Tomatoes
Begin by blistering tomatoes.
This is as simple as a quick sauté in olive oil, garlic, salt, and pepper.
The technique does something a little magical to them and brings out the innate sweet and tomato-ness.
Next, move on to the Garlicky Lemon Grilled Shrimp.
Skewer the raw shrimp.
Whisk together the marinade
This quick marinade recipe consists of:
- Olive oil
- Lemon zest
- Minced garlic
- Kosher salt
- Black Pepper
While the shrimp marinate, begin the Grilled Parmesan Polenta.
In a 9″ or 10″ cast iron skillet, bring chicken stock, butter, half and half, and cornmeal to a low simmer.
Cook indirectly until the liquid is mostly absorbed and the cornmeal is tender.
What is the difference between polenta and cornmeal?
Packages labeled polenta mean that the grind of the corn is appropriate to make the polenta dish, but you can substitute regular medium or coarsely-ground cornmeal instead.
Often, cornmeal is much easier and less expensive to find.
Briefly grill each side of the marinated shrimp directly over the flames until cooked through and slightly charred.
Whisk butter and freshly shredded parmesan cheese into the polenta.
Serve the grilled shrimp skewers over a spoonful of the Parmesan Polenta. Top with BLISTERED CHERRY TOMATOES before garnishing with fresh basil and a lemon wedge.
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Grilled Italian Shrimp and Parmesan Polenta with Blistered Tomatoes
- 1 Barbecue Grill
- 1 9" or 10" Cast Iron Skillet
- 24 ounces shrimp, raw peeled and deveined, sized 21-30 shrimp per pound.
Grilled Italian Shrimp Marinade
- 3 tablespoons olive oil
- 2 tablesppons lemon zest
- 2 tablespoons garlic, minced
- 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
- 1/4 teaspoon black pepper, fresh ground
- 1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
Grilled Parmesan Polenta
- 4 tablespoons butter – DIVIDED
- 3 cups unsalted chicken stock
- 1/2 cup half and half
- 1 teaspoon kosher salt
- 1/2 teaspoon black pepper, fresh grated
- 1/2 cup cornmeal/polenta
- 1 cup parmesan cheese, fresh shredded
- Preheat a gas or charcoal grill for a 350 – 400 degree grate temperature or medium high, set up for indirect cooking. Indirect cooking/grilling means the food is not placed directly over the heat source, but cooks to the side of it.
- Skewer the raw, defrosted (if previously frozen), peeled, and deveined shrimp on bamboo or metal skewers.
- Whisk together the Grilled Italian Shrimp Marinade and then pour over the shrimp.
- Marinate the shrimp for 15-30 minutes.
Grilled Parmesan Polenta
- In a 9" or 10" cast iron skillet, bring two (2) tablespoons of the DIVIDED butter, chicken stock, half and half, salt, and pepper to a simmer.
- Move the skillet to indirect heat and whisk in the cornmeal/polenta.
- Continue to cook indirectly (not directly over the flame, but to the side) with the grill lid closed for 15-20 minutes or until the liquid is mostly absorbed, the grains are tender, and the desired consistency is reached.
- Whisk in the remaining two (2) tablespoons of butter and the freshly shredded parmesan cheese.
Grilled Italian Shrimp
- Remove the skewered shrimp from the marinade, discarding any remaining marinade.
- Place the shrimp skewers directly over the coals/flame. Sear each side for 2-4 minutes, just until the interior of the shrimp is no longer opaque and the desired char is obtained.
- Serve the grilled shrimp skewers over a spoonful of the Parmesan Polenta. Top with remaining BLISTERED CHERRY TOMATOES.
- Garnish with fresh basil and a lemon wedge if desired.
CAN I USE FROZEN SHRIMP?Absolutely. Just make sure the shrimp have been completely defrosted and thoroughly patted dry.
CAN I USE PRE-COOKED SHRIMP?I don’t recommend this.
Does the size of the shrimp matter?Yes. Make sure to adjust the cook time for different sized shrimp AND for grill grate temperature.
What is the difference between polenta and cornmeal?Packages labeled polenta mean that the grind of the corn is appropriate to make the polenta dish, but you can substitute regular medium or coarsely-ground cornmeal instead. Often, cornmeal is much easier and less expensive to find.
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