We don’t know most of the world. Water covers seventy-one percent of the earth’s surface, comprises two-thirds of the Earth’s available habitat. Our oceanographers say that only five percent of the ocean’s floors have been explored. We have left the remainder to mystery. Occasionally a great unknown creature washes ashore and we catalogue its bones. Cry monster.
once i was asked to find my happiest memory. i pick one up from thousands, dust it off like an old coin. i am fourteen years old. we have taken the speedboat out onto the lake, the sun is setting in the distance. it is a hot and sticky mid-july evening and the air rushes past my face so fast i can barely breathe in fully. i turn my face into the air and the wind and water spray cut at me. the sun tangles in my hair. i am fresh, clean, alive.
i am most passionate about the things that come from the water. lobster, crawfish, shrimp. there is a delicacy to the meat, in both texture and flavor, that i'm hard pressed to find anywhere else. shrimp, conveniently enough, is also one of the easiest and quickest things to cook. take care to let them curl slightly and pink up in the heat. the meat should be white and opaque throughout and not transparent at all.
4 cups salted water or shrimp stock
2 cups polenta
2 tbsp butter
1/4 cup parmesan cheese, grated
salt & better
2 bell peppers, sliced and ribs removed
1 yellow onion, thinly sliced
2 cloves garlic, minced
2 tbsp tomato paste
3 tbsp sherry vinegar
2 tsp. olive oil
salt & pepper to taste
2 tbsp butter
1 lb. jumbo shrimp, peeled, cleaned, and deveined
1 clove garlic, minced
salt & pepper
2 tsp olive oil
salt & pepper
minced parsley to top.
In a medium pot, bring the salted water to a boil. once boiling, slowly whisk in the polenta and reduce heat to a low simmer. continue to whisk continually for 10-12 minutes, until polenta has thickened and all lumps are broken. remove from heat and add butter and parmesan. whisk in. add salt and pepper to taste. set aside.
in a medium saucepan, heat olive oil over medium-high until hot. add the onion and garlic and cook for 1-2 minutes, until onion is transparent and fragrant. add peppers and cook, stirring occasionally, for 10-12 minutes until the peppers are soft. add tomato paste, sherry vinegar, salt and pepper and cook for 1-2 additional minutes, to combine flavors. set aside.
meanwhile, heat butter in a medium nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. add garlic and stir, allow to cook 1-2 minutes. season both sides of the shrimp with salt and pepper. add shrimp to pan and cook approximately three minutes on each side, until shrimp are pink and no longer transparent. transfer to a plate. wipe out the pan thoroughly.
heat 2 tsp. of olive oil over medium-high heat until hot. crack the eggs into the pan and season with salt and pepper. cook until yolks are runny and whites are completely set.
plate polenta, with piperade and then egg on top. arrange shrimp to the side. sprinkle with minced parsley.