One time, Alex made me this divine polenta. It was soft, sort of like a thickened oatmeal or grits. Even though it was soft, you could scoop it up with your fork and the rest wouldn’t run. Sort of like my ideal mashed potatoes. I find that, apparently, I like this texture in a lot of foods. And I liked it in this polenta, especially considering the other “type” of polenta is the hard, brick-like kind.

So, Whole Foods had a sale on polenta cornmeal and it was like manna from heaven came and dropped in my hand. I think I could have eaten this without the shrimp. In fact, I know I could have because I quickly ate all my shrimp so I could slowly savor the polenta.

The shrimp was a simple tossing of melted butter, garlic, lemon juice, spinach and shrimp. However, the generous handfuls of spinach I added quickly wilted to much less than I expected, throwing off the pink-to-green ratio (not good). The recipe Alex linked me to asked for fontina rather than havarti … but I had havarti on hand and both are or can be soft cheeses so I decreed that a replacement must be made. Also, I ladled the polenta onto the plate right before adding the shrimp and served immediately. I think this is fine, but I let mine sit for a few minutes after serving to give the polenta a little cooling off / stiffening time. Then it was perfect, texturally, for me. Yum!

Amusingly enough, Martin saw the havarti and parmesan sitting on the counter after dinner and was like “What is wrong with this cheese!? It’s all brown … and hard!!!” And then I looked and told him it was parmesan cheese. Martin looked nonplussed and unconvinced.

Polenta with Havarti and Thyme

5 cups canned low-sodium chicken broth
1 tbsp. chopped fresh thyme (or 1 tsp. dried)
1 garlic clove, minced
1 cup polenta (coarse cornmeal)
1 cup packed grated havarti cheese
¼ cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese

1/ Find a large, heavy saucepan to use.

2/ Bring broth, thyme and garlic to a boil in saucepan.

3/ Gradually whisk in polenta.

4/ Reduce heat to medium and cook until polenta is thick and creamy, whisking frequently, about 20 minutes.

5/ Add cheeses. Stir until melted.

6/ Season with salt and pepper and serve immediately.

Servings: 4

Melanie’s presentation style

Martin’s presentation style