Lemon Garlic Shrimp Scampi with Kale and Polenta

Lemon Garlic Shrimp Scampi with Kale and Polenta

Butter, lemon and garlic show-off the natural sweetness of shrimp in this simple but satisfying meal. The succulent shrimp is served on a bed of fresh kale and soft, creamy polenta spiked with salty Parmesan. It’s a meal that comes together pretty quickly and never fails to please.

I find a special kind of enjoyment in eating one-dish meals like this where the sum of all the parts equals a delicious symphony of flavors that only comes from scooping up a little bit of everything in each bite. It’s immensely fulfilling and completely comforting.

To soften the hearty kale leaves massage olive oil into them and allow them to sit for 10-15 minutes before cooking. It softens the tough leaves considerably and helps to take away some of the bitterness they might have. Fresh spinach leaves or another type of green can easily be used in place of the kale using the same technique (skip this step if using spinach).

If you can’t find polenta or have cornmeal on hand for making cornbread – use it! The two are exactly the same, the only difference being that ‘polenta’ is sometimes cut coarser. The end result will be the same. You can use grits too, if you like!

Lemon Garlic Shrimp Scampi with Kale and Polenta

Lemon Garlic Shrimp Scampi with Kale and Polenta
(loosely adapted from Food Network Magazine)
4-5 cups fresh kale or spinach leaves
1-2 tablespoons olive oil
1 cup polenta or cornmeal
1/2 cup Parmesan cheese, grated, plus additional for serving
4 tablespoons butter, divided
sea or kosher salt and fresh ground black pepper
4 large cloves garlic, minced
1 1/4 pounds medium shrimp, peeled and deveined, tails removed
pinch of cayenne pepper (optional)
juice of 1/2 lemon, plus wedges for serving 
2 tablespoons fresh parsley, rough chopped

1. Add the kale leaves to a large bowl, drizzle 1-2 tablespoon olive oil over top, using your hands massage the oil into each leaf. Set aside for at least 10 minutes.

2. Cook polenta according to package directions, when cooked stir in parmesan and butter, season to taste with salt and pepper, put a lid on it to keep warm

2. Meanwhile heat a large skillet over medium-low heat, add the kale and saute until wilted and tender, remove kale and set aside, cover to keep warm.

3. Season the shrimp with salt and pepper. Melt the remaining 2 tablespoons butter in the skillet over medium heat, add the shrimp, garlic and cayenne, if using, and cook, tossing, until the shrimp are pink, 3 to 4 minutes. Remove from heat and add the lemon juice and parsley, toss to coat the shrimp. Season with salt and pepper.

4. To serve layer with polenta on the bottom, followed by kale, then shrimp along with lemon wedges and extra Parmesan.

Lemon Garlic Shrimp with Kale and Polenta

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