January in Ohio is strange for many reasons. Chief among them is the vast temperature scale. It can be in teens in the morning, snowing by noon, and Spring-ish by the time you go to bed. Keeping this in mind I want my meals in this month to be comforting but feel lighter. Enter, shrimp, polenta, and kale. This golden trio of healthyish comfort to combat all weather combos.
Shrimp is so light and diverse it elevates every meal. I am spicing things up in this dish to kick up the warmth a bit. While I am singing shrimps praises this recipe would also be good with crispy tofu or shredded chicken.
Polenta is where this recipe started. I rarely use this basic concoction. While I was in Cleveland a few weekends ago I was reminded how simple and delicious it is. I prefer the ease of the circular kind you can buy at Trader Joe’s and pan fry so making it creamy with parmesan will be a fun experiment.
Finally, Kale. What a rockstar of a leaf. It is hardy and delicious and just enough of a diva to demand a massage for best use. I am obsessed with the garlicky kale on Whole Foods’ hot bar so this will be a riff on that mainstay.
So now that we have established the players, let’s talk about the setup and execution.
I massaged the kale with the garlic earlier in the day because I was feeling motivated to cook and wanted to make sure I got the flavor just right. You can do this right before dinner if you want.
I bought frozen shrimp so my timing was mostly based on the thaw. These were key west shrimps from Whole Foods. Next time I will go with fresh or just larger versions. These were good but I am not a fan of the popcorn size.
Finally, the polenta. I was SHOCKED how creamy and delicious this turned out. I kept saying, my best ever, after taking a bite. That good. I think it was the alternating butter and cheese folding in that I did right as my polenta reached desired thickness.
Honestly, this trifecta of different yet complimentary flavors worked its magic and left me pleasantly full and very satisfied.