Gulf shrimp marinated in a citrus, garlic, and achiote oil mixture, sit atop queso fresco and green chile polenta, and get topped with luscious roasted salsa verde, a dab of red chile purée, and fresh cilantro… Green Chile Polenta With Citrus Shrimp is an elegant and flavor-packed dish perfect for a special occasion!
While this can be a weeknight meal – if you have made the polenta and roasted salsa verde ahead – it probably is best reserved for a special weekend meal. However, I always expect to make a blog recipe several times, so the pan of polenta and batch of roasted salsa verde made the first time were sufficient for 2 additional meals. With the more time-consuming components of the dish out of the way, it comes together rather quickly. Polenta is awesome on the grill, but it requires thorough chilling prior to cutting it into squares for grilling. It will keep in the refrigerator for about 5 days, so I always make the polenta in advance. My Roasted Salsa Verde will keep at least that long (but I bet it won’t last that long 😉 ). The shrimp needs only about 30 minutes in the marinade; while it marinates, I make a salad and salad dressing. I highly recommend pairing Grilled Green Chile Polenta And Citrus Shrimp with a mango and avocado salad dressed with a citrus and red chile vinaigrette.
To bring this dish together, cut your 9 x 9 pan of thoroughly chilled polenta into 9 squares, and lift them carefully to a plate with a small spatula. Remove the shrimp from the marinade with a slotted spoon. Warm the Roasted Salsa Verde (cold salsa on this dish no es bueno!). While your household grill master grills the polenta (my husband in our case), dress the salad and pour your favorite drink. The polenta takes about 12-15 minutes to grill, but the shrimp only need 3-5 minutes over direct high heat. Don’t overcook the shrimp! If you cook them until they’re completely opaque, they’ll be overcooked as they continue to cook after removed from the heat. Place a square of grilled polenta on a small plate, top with one-fourth of the grilled shrimp and a generous spoonful of the Roasted Salsa Verde, squeeze a nickel-sized dab of red chile purée, and garnish with chopped cilantro. Perfecto!
I like a cook who smiles out loud when he tastes his own work.
Let God worry about your modesty; I want to see your enthusiasm.
~~ Robert Farrar Capon, American Episcopal priest, author, and chef
I definitely smiled “out loud” with the first bite! The spicy Mexican flavors just danced on my tongue. We loved a Green Flash Treasure Chest with this dish! This beer is a special-release IPA infused with grapefruit, hibiscus, and prickly pear. It was an amazing pairing, and raising a glass of this beer benefits cancer research. I highly recommend this beer, but it would be lovely with any citrusy, well-balanced IPA or saison. If you have beer and wine pairings that you love, please send them my way via a comment here or my “Contact Me” page. I love to suggest pairings, but I have limited opportunities to try different pairings!
Grilled Green Chile Polenta With Citrus Shrimp
Green Chile Polenta
- 3 cups water
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1 cup cornmeal
- 1/2 cup chopped Hatch green chile see notes
- 2 ounces queso fresco cubed (see notes)
- several grinds pepper
- 1 tablespoon butter or olive oil
Shrimp and Marinade
- 1/4 cup citrus juice see note
- 2 tablespoons achiote olive oil see notes
- 1 teaspoon garlic minced
- 1/2 teaspoon sea salt
- a few grinds of pepper
- 1 pound large shrimp peeled and deveined
- 4 tablespoons Roasted Salsa Verde warmed
- 4 teaspoons Fresno or fresh red chile puree see notes
- fresh cilantro chopped
Make the Polenta
- Bring water and salt to a boil. Reduce heat.
- Using a whisk, incorporate the cornmeal. Whisk vigorously to avoid lumps.
- Reduce heat, and cover. Cook 20-30 minutes on low - stirring occasionally.
- Add green chile, queso fresco, and olive oil. Stir to combine.
- Spoon into a 9 x9 glass pan coated with cooking spray. Press flat. Refrigerate until thoroughly chilled.
- Combine 1/4 cup achiote olive oil, citrus juice(s), garlic, salt and pepper in a small prep bowl.
- Add shrimp.
- Marinate 30 minutes.
- Spray clean grill racks. Preheat grill to high heat.
- Grill polenta squares until you have nice, browned grill marks. Turn. When somewhat crispy and brown on second side, remove.
- In a grill basket, grill shrimp 3 to 5 minutes stirring occasionally, until nearly opaque. Remove.
- To 4 small dinner plates, add 1 square grilled polenta, 1/4 of the grilled shrimp, 1 tablespoon of the warmed salsa verde, a nickel-sized dab of red chile puree, and garnish with fresh cilantro.
Hatch green chile is pretty widely available in the U.S. If you can't find it, substitute roasted chiles like poblano or anaheim, peeled and chopped.
I loved queso fresco in this. The cubes barely melt and stay intact. The chewy bite is lovely. Use your favorite Mexican cheese - cotija, asadero, etc.
I have done this with lime, and with blood orange and lime. Use a combination or citrus or whatever is fresh and available.
Achiote (annato) olive oil: 1 tablespoon annato seeds and 2 tablespoons olive oil simmered until oil is bright red. Cool and strain.
I use red chile puree from Gourmet Garden when I can't make my own. Many markets carry their products in tubes in the produce department.