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Soft Polenta with Seafood

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  • Servings: 4 First-Course Servings

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  • 1/2 cup finest grind white polenta or cornmeal
  • 1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • 2 garlic cloves, thinly sliced
  • 1 red cayenne chile, thinly sliced
  • 1/4 cup dry white wine, such as Bastianich Tocai
  • 1 pound shelled sweet shrimp, rock shrimp or dungeness crab
  • 1 tablespoon unsalted butter
  • Juice of 1/2 Meyer lemon
  • 1 bunch of flat-leaf parsley, chopped
  • Salt and freshly ground pepper


  1. In a 4-quart saucepan, bring 3 cups of water to a boil. Stream in the polenta, whisking constantly, and bring to a boil. Lower the heat to a simmer and cook for 20 minutes, stirring frequently. Set aside, covered with plastic wrap.
  2. In a very large skillet, heat the olive oil until just smoking. Add the garlic and cayenne chile and cook until softened, about 30 seconds; do not brown the garlic. Add the wine and bring to a boil, then add the shrimp and cook until just pink and curled; if using crab, cook just until warmed through. Remove from the heat. Add the butter, lemon juice and parsley and season with salt and pepper.
  3. Place 1/4 cup of the soft polenta in the center of each plate, spoon the shrimp or crab mixture on top and serve.
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