Louisiana is where I learned to love seafood. With dishes like fish crusted in chopped pecans and smothered in fresh crab and a lightly spiced white wine beurre blanc, dark and richly flavored seafood gumbo that’s been simmering for hours, and finger licking good crab and crawfish boils.
Once I got a taste of Cajun cuisine, there was no turning back. My love of all things Cajun was born.
So when I found this recipe, I was over the moon excited. Cajun Barbecue Shrimp over Sweet Potato Grits. I was hooked. On everything except the grits.
I like grits, but I like grits sweet with sugar and butter. And that’s about it. But… my food lovin’ mind got creative and decided a sweet potato polenta would be an excellent substitution.
A tangy but spicy sauce, smothering fresh Gulf shrimp and then all that goodness ladled over sweet potato polenta. Someone pinch me!
The recipe did not disappoint. Even my little “I don’t eat fish” gal (Suzie Q) loved it. And Tink raved about the sauce. It’s a snappy little sauce that would taste just as good over chicken.
I was hoping for leftovers. The shrimp flew right off the platter, with only a little sweet potato polenta for breakfast tomorrow. I’m hiding it!
Unfortunately there aren’t too many sneaky spots to hide food in the frig. Too bad it couldn’t be stashed in my secret hiding spot for chocolate.
Oven Barbecue Shrimp with Sweet Potato Polenta
Serves 2-3 (can easily be doubled)
2 lbs Gulf Shrimp (16-20 count), peeled with tail on and deveined
¼ cup unsalted butter, melted
¼ cup chili sauce
1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
1 tablespoon lemon juice
1-2 teaspoons Sriracha (Asian Hot Sauce)
1 teaspoon Smoked Paprika
Salt and pepper
1 tablespoon chopped fresh thyme
Sweet potato polenta (recipe follows)
Pre-heat the oven to 350F.
In a large bowl whisk together the butter, chili sauce, Worcestershire, lemon juice, Sriracha and smoked paprika. Toss in the shrimp in the sauce and sprinkle with a pinch of salt and pepper.
Lightly oil a large baking dish and pour the shrimp with sauce into the baking dish. Spread out the shrimp into a single layer.
Bake the shrimp for about 8-10 minutes and just before the shrimp are done turn on the broil and slightly brown the shrimp. Watch the shrimp carefully or they’ll burn. (yes, I did this)
Spoon the sweet potato polenta onto a platter or large bowl and pour the shrimp over the polenta.
Sprinkle with chopped fresh thyme and serve hot.
Sweet Potato Polenta
1 cup quick cook polenta
2 cups water
1 cup whole milk
¼ cup shredded parmesan cheese
¼ cup shredded Gouda, Monterey jack or Swiss
1 – 1 ½ cups mashed, baked sweet potato
Salt and pepper to taste
On medium heat, bring the liquid to a slight boil. Add the polenta and cook for a few minutes until it begins to thicken. Take the polenta off the heat and stir in the cheese and mashed sweet potato.
Season with salt and pepper to taste.
Quick cooking a sweet potato – slice a sweet potato in half and place cut sides down on a greased baking sheet. Bake in a pre-heated 400F oven for about 20 minutes or until soft to the touch.
Recipe adapted from Louisiana Cookin’ (A fabulous resource for all foods Cajun and Creole!)