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Valentines Dinner! Cheesy Polenta With...?

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ilbrantdai Feb 8, 2013 09:02 AM

I am making a dinner for my fiance which will consist of simply seared scallops & shrimp, with a cheesy polenta (using Parmigiano-Reggiano). I want to add a little something else to the polenta recipe, however, and I was thinking that 2 chopped shallots and a couple tablespoons of freshly chopped parsley might pair nicely. I am new to cooking, and rarely (if ever) do I stray from a written recipe. This being the first time I've ever really tried to come up with a recipe of my own, I wanted some seasoned (pun TOTALLY intended) responses. Any and all criticism enthusiastically welcomed!

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    nemo RE: ilbrantdai Feb 8, 2013 09:46 AM

    Maybe do the shallots as very crispy fried rings, scattered over all. You can't go wrong with parsley.

    3 Replies
    1. re: nemo
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      ilbrantdai RE: nemo Feb 8, 2013 10:08 AM

      Ooh, that sounds like a yummy idea. What kind of oil would be best for something like that?

      1. re: ilbrantdai
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        nemo RE: ilbrantdai Feb 8, 2013 11:33 AM

        Here's a link for making fried shallots. We don't deep fry, so our shallots come out less than totally crispy, but a quick drain on paper towels and they're pretty darn good.

        You may want to practice before the big day.

        http://www.noobcook.com/fried-shallot...

        1. re: nemo
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          ilbrantdai RE: nemo Feb 8, 2013 11:57 AM

          YUM! Those look so good. Though you are right Nemo: some practice may be in order. :)

    2. BeeZee RE: ilbrantdai Feb 8, 2013 10:09 AM

      a little dollop of tomato confit (more of a garnish than a mix-in) would be nice, and the acidity would be a good "bridge" between the seafood and polenta.

      1 Reply
      1. re: BeeZee
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        ilbrantdai RE: BeeZee Feb 8, 2013 10:20 AM

        Thanks, BeeZee--yet another recipe I've never heard of! Do you think the one on this site is suitable (http://www.chow.com/recipes/11878-tom...), or is there another you'd recommend?

      2. coll RE: ilbrantdai Feb 8, 2013 10:25 AM

        When I make cheesy grits, I use cheddar myself with just a bit of parmesan; I add my salt flavor instead with a nice dash of soy sauce or worchester. Definitely some garlic/shallots and chives/ scallions and then I couldn't think of not jazzing it up with Tabasco or cayenne. If your recipe doesn't call for it, an egg firms it up nicely. Don't forget to fry up the leftovers!

        I also love to make a cheesy polenta/grits appetizer that I top with shrimp and feta. That gets more complicated, with roasted red pepper, oregano, thyme and mint. Chicken broth and heavy cream for the liquids. Again, Tabasco and parmesan, chives and garlic.

        14 Replies
        1. re: coll
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          ilbrantdai RE: coll Feb 8, 2013 10:27 AM

          At what point would I add the egg? And I am serving the polenta firm--in the fridge overnight, then cut and fried. :)

          1. re: ilbrantdai
            coll RE: ilbrantdai Feb 8, 2013 10:29 AM

            That's my favorite way! I add the egg to the cheese and butter, right in the beginning.

            1. re: ilbrantdai
              goodhealthgourmet RE: ilbrantdai Feb 8, 2013 08:01 PM

              And I am serving the polenta firm--in the fridge overnight, then cut and fried.
              ~~~~~~~~~~~
              Then I would definitely serve it with a sauce. Depending on what you two enjoy, I'd either go with a tomato base or a pesto.

              1. re: goodhealthgourmet
                coll RE: goodhealthgourmet Feb 8, 2013 08:30 PM

                I've never had fried grits (polenta) served with any kind of sauce? They're pretty rich on their own.

                1. re: coll
                  goodhealthgourmet RE: coll Feb 9, 2013 09:28 AM

                  I personally find they can be a little dense. And since the OP is adding plain grilled seafood - which will be relatively dry - I would want to add some sort of sauce or topping for moisture.

                  1. re: goodhealthgourmet
                    coll RE: goodhealthgourmet Feb 9, 2013 12:48 PM

                    Nothing wrong with it, just wondering what is traditional, now that the subject came up. I've only had it at one restaurant before I started making my own, so I'm curious.

                    1. re: coll
                      goodhealthgourmet RE: coll Feb 9, 2013 04:17 PM

                      I think it's really just a matter of personal taste, though I've seen many Italian-leaning recipes for fried polenta with tomato sauce.

                      1. re: goodhealthgourmet
                        coll RE: goodhealthgourmet Feb 10, 2013 04:13 AM

                        What would be a good "dipping" sauce if you were serving it deep fried, "southern" style, do you think?

                        1. re: coll
                          goodhealthgourmet RE: coll Feb 10, 2013 09:29 AM

                          It depends on the cheese - since you said "southern" style, can I assume you're not using Parm?

                          1. re: goodhealthgourmet
                            coll RE: goodhealthgourmet Feb 10, 2013 09:31 AM

                            Nah just cheddar. I was thinking, a piquante sauce might do.

                            1. re: coll
                              goodhealthgourmet RE: coll Feb 10, 2013 09:40 AM

                              I'd think that a peppery buttermilk, tangy mustard, or BBQ dipping sauce would work.

                              1. re: goodhealthgourmet
                                coll RE: goodhealthgourmet Feb 10, 2013 11:12 AM

                                I just made Creole shrimp with a mustard sauce that also involved hot pepper jelly and it was a big hit. Would probably work well.

              2. re: ilbrantdai
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                sandylc RE: ilbrantdai Feb 8, 2013 08:44 PM

                I serve crisp polenta with an herbed cream cheese.

              3. re: coll
                chowser RE: coll Feb 8, 2013 10:58 AM

                The egg made me think it would be great to have small poached egg over it so the yolk runs over the polenta.

              4. chowser RE: ilbrantdai Feb 8, 2013 10:57 AM

                Because I'm close to the south and love shrimp and grits w/ tasso ham, I'd use something along those lines--maybe pancetta.

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                  sandylc RE: ilbrantdai Feb 8, 2013 07:40 PM

                  I would saute some mushrooms, onions, and bell peppers to go with the polenta.

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                    BobbiD RE: ilbrantdai Feb 9, 2013 09:32 AM

                    I think chives would bring some brightness given the richness of the parmigiana and polenta, even a bit of lemon or lemon zest. Parsley's a good idea as you said. Plus, chives both chopped and whole make a beautiful garnish. Just sliced them up and stir through at the end, and top with a bit of chive and lemon zest garnish

                    1. Uncle Bob RE: ilbrantdai Feb 9, 2013 01:09 PM

                      Maybe approach it from the other side of the plate....a sauce for the scallops/shrimp...Some type of Garlic cream, White Wine, or Lemon butter, or whatever....

                      Have Fun!

                      1 Reply
                      1. re: Uncle Bob
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                        Gloriaa RE: Uncle Bob Feb 10, 2013 05:01 AM

                        I would add a spicy fruit salsa, mango, tomato, jalapeño, red onion, cilantro, s&p and lime juice. Would pair nicely with the seafood and the rich polenta cakes.

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