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Feb 8, 2013 09:02 AM

Valentines Dinner! Cheesy Polenta With...?

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

    3 Replies
    1. re: nemo

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

      1. re: ilbrantdai

        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.

        1. re: nemo

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

    2. 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

        Thanks, BeeZee--yet another recipe I've never heard of! Do you think the one on this site is suitable (, or is there another you'd recommend?

      2. 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

          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

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

            1. re: ilbrantdai

              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

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

                1. re: coll

                  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

                    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

                      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

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

                        1. re: coll

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

                          1. re: goodhealthgourmet

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

                            1. re: coll

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

                              1. re: goodhealthgourmet

                                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

                I serve crisp polenta with an herbed cream cheese.

              3. re: coll

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

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

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