Sweet corn polenta with shrimp is a 30 minute weeknight wonder thanks to quick cooking polenta and shrimp. Lots of fresh juicy corn makes it unforgettable.
Think of sweet corn polenta as cheesy Italian polenta meets shrimp & grits ~ with lots of sweet juicy corn! It’s a summery recipe that can serve as a side (without the shrimp) or a main course. Perfect for peak corn season when you want to gobble up as much as you possibly can. In this dish polenta is cooked up with fresh corn and then topped with more of the golden gems. And while sweet corn isn’t a traditional Italian ingredient, it’s right at home in this sunny Mediterranean meal.
what you’ll need for sweet corn polenta
- sweet corn
- yellow corn meal or instant polenta
- using milk + water is the key to a creamy polenta that stays supple and doesn’t completely harden as it cools. Thanks to the milk this polenta can be reheated for leftovers with a little added liquid.
- Italian cheese
- shrimp is our weeknight dinner friend, it cooks up in minutes. Sea scallops would be nice in this dish as well.
- salt and pepper
cornmeal vs polenta
Both are ground dried corn. Cornmeal is a more general term that encompasses various types of ground dried corn, including fine, medium, and coarse grinds. Polenta cornmeal specifically refers to coarser cornmeal that is traditionally used for making polenta. Feel free to use either for this recipe.
30 minute countdown to sweet corn polenta with shrimp, step by step
- Slice the kernels off your ears of corn. Peel shrimp.
- Begin to heat water, milk, and 2/3 of the corn over medium heat.
- Sauté shrimp and set aside.
- Microwave the reserved kernels and set aside.
- Stream cornmeal into pot while whisking. Cook until thick, about 5 minutes.
- Off heat add butter and cheese to polenta and stir to combine.
- Plate the polenta, top with reserved corn kernels, shrimp, and garnish with parsley.
5 things you need to know about sweet corn polenta
- For a quick weeknight dinner use instant or quick cooking polenta, or use cornmeal. Both cook up in just a few minutes. Traditional polenta can take 40-50 minutes to cook.
- To avoid lumps in your polenta, gradually add the cornmeal to the hot liquid while whisking continuously. This helps to disperse the cornmeal evenly and prevents clumping. If lumps do form, you can use a whisk or spoon to vigorously stir and break them apart.
- Choose sharp or aged cheese for best flavor. Aged Italian or sharp cheddar are both good choices.
- Remember that polenta thickens as it cools, so keep it warm until ready to serve, and you may want to keep it slightly looser than your desired final consistency.
- I recommend fresh seasonal corn for this recipe. You could use frozen, but why?
more easy shrimp for dinner
- Mediterranean Orzo Salad with Shrimp
- New England Shrimp Rolls
- Shrimp Taco Salad
- Lemon Garlic Shrimp with Orzo
- Chimichurri Shrimp
Sweet Corn Polenta with Shrimp
sweet corn polenta
- Bring the milk, water, salt, and 2 cups of corn kernels to a simmer in a heavy bottomed pot. Microwave the final cup of kernels for a minute and a half on high, and then set aside for garnish.
- While the pot is heating, melt the butter in a medium skillet and add the shrimp, garlic, and paprika, along with a pinch of salt. Sauté the shrimp, flipping once, just until it turns translucent and begins to curl. Set aside.
- Once you start to see steam rising from your pot, add the cornmeal in a light steady stream, while whisking constantly to avoid lumps. When all the cornmeal has been added, let the pot come to a bubble (still gently whisking!) and then turn down the heat to low and partially cover the pot to prevent splatters.
- Simmer very gently for about 3-5 minutes, stirring often. Turn off the heat and stir in the cheese and butter.
- Serve the hot polenta in bowls topped with the reserved corn and shrimp. Drizzle the pan juices over the shrimp and garnish with the reserved corn kernels, parsley and some fresh cracked pepper.