Grilled Shrimp with Poblano Polenta and Red Pepper Sauce

Grilled Shrimp with Poblano PolentaThis recipe came from an Ad for McCormick Gourmet Collection seasonings in Bonappetit magazine. Before you turn up your nose at a recipe in an advertisement, let me be the first to testify.  Some of my best recipes have come from ads or off the side of a box. The Orzo with Basil, Tomato and Feta that I make all the time and is a favorite of all my friends came from the side of a Ronzoni box. The Parmesan Chicken I make for my kids all the time I discovered on the label of  Hellmann’s Mayonnaise.   So, don’t assume the recipes offered by your favorite products are sub par. Give them a try, I think you will be pleasantly surprised.

Here’s some notes on this recipe that you might find helpful.  The Manchego cheese, a hard Spanish sheep’s milk cheese, called for in the Polenta is not cheap and not always available.  For substitutions, check out this link.  It seems Pecorino Romano is the most commonly suggested substitution.

The polenta recipe also calls for whole milk.  Since I had 1/2 cup of the heavy cream left over from the Red Pepper Sauce and I only have skim milk in the house, I used 3 1/2 cups skim and 1/2 cup heavy cream.  It turned out great.  Next time I am going with all skim to see if it makes much of a difference.  I also inadvertently bought quick cooking polenta, so I did not follow the cooking instructions in this recipe.  It was just perfect, so feel free to get the quick cooking kind if you prefer.  The recipe calls for roasted poblano peppers.  I roast mine just like red peppers in the toaster oven or regular oven under the broiler.

Oh, and two last things.   I added a sprinkle of red pepper flakes to the red pepper sauce.  The sauce is on the sweet side and I thought it needed some heat.  Do what you want with that.  And, the recipe calls for pan searing the shrimp.  We grilled the shrimp in our handy grill basket.  They turned out delicious, so choose your preferred cooking method, it won’t matter as long as you don’t over cook the shrimp.  Never, over cook the shrimp.

Grilled Shrimp with Poblano Polenta and Red Pepper Sauce


  • Red Pepper - Agave Sauce:
  • 1 Tbsp. olive oil
  • 1/4 cup chopped red onion
  • 3 Tbsp. agave nectar or honey (I used honey)
  • 1 jar (12 - 13 oz.) roasted red peppers, drained
  • 1/2 cup chicken stock
  • 1/2 cup heavy cream
  • 1 Tbsp. tomato paste
  • Smoked Paprika Shrimp:
  • 1 lb. large shrimp, peeled and deveined
  • 2 Tbsp. olive oil, divided
  • 2 tsp. McCormick's Gourmet Collection Smoked Paprika
  • 1/2 tsp. McCormick Gourmet Collection Sicilian Sea Salt
  • 1/2 tsp. coarse grind black pepper
  • 2 green onions, thinly sliced for garnish
  • Poblano Polenta:
  • 1 quart  (4 cups)  milk
  • 1 teaspoon McCormick® Gourmet Collection Sicilian Sea Salt
  • 1 cup polenta
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 1 cup shredded Manchego cheese
  • 1 cup fresh or thawed frozen corn kernels
  • 1/4 cup finely chopped roasted Poblano chile (See Test Kitchen Tip below) or 1 tablespoon  chopped drained pickled jalapeno pepper


    Red Pepper Sauce:

    Heat 1 Tbls. oil in small skillet on medium heat.  Add onion; cook and stir 2 minutes or until softened.  Add agave nectar (or honey); cook and stir 1 minute or until onion starts to caramelize.  Place peppers, stock, cream, tomato paste and onion mixture in blender or food processor; cover. Puree until smooth.  Spoon into medium saucepan.  Bring to a boil on medium heat. Cook 10 to 12 minutes or until sauce is slightly thickened.  Keep warm.


    For the Poblano Polenta, bring milk and sea salt to simmer in heavy 2-quart saucepan on medium heat.  Whisking constantly, add polenta in thin stream.  Stirring frequently, cook 10 minute.  Reduce heat to low; cover and simmer 10 minutes, stirring occasionally.  Remove from heat.  Stir in butter, corn, cheese and chile until well mixed.  Keep warm. (As I said before, quick cooking polenta works just fine with this.  Just follow cooking time on the package.)


    Toss shrimp with 1 Tbsp. oil.  Sprinkle with smoked paprika, sea salt and pepper.  Heat remaining 1 tablespoon oil in large nonstick skillet on medium -high heat.   Add shrimp, cook and stir 3 minutes or just until shrimp turn pink.  (Or, grill, works great)

    Spoon polenta onto each plate.  Drizzle sauce around polenta.  Arrange shrimp on polenta.  Sprinkle with green onions.