Polenta with Prawns and Cherry Tomatoes

Polenta with Prawns and Cherry Tomatoes

For this summery recipe, we thank chef Robert Golic and Sabina Salamun of Vina Laguna, suppliers of our Istrian malvazija. Like any simple idea, it relies wholly on the quality of the ingredients but there's no need to labour over this. Premium frozen prawns which have already been prepared are a great standby, provided you remember to defrost them, as is instant polenta which is here cooked quickly in milk to make it soft and fluffy.

Cherry tomatoes of different colours, or a mixture of cherries and baby plums make the dish look even prettier and a spot of torn basil will add another colourway.

Serves 4

Ingredients

  • 16-20 medium-to-large prawns, shelled, deveined and thoroughly washed and dried
  • A punnet of cherry tomatoes or a mixture of cherry and baby plum
  • 175g instant ('no-cook') polenta
  • Full-fat milk, or 70/30 milk and water in the volume recommended on the packet (approx 1 litre)
  • 50g butter
  • 50g aged Parmesan or pecorino cheese, freshly grated
  • Olive oil
  • A dash of brandy
  • Salt and pepper
  • A finishing dash of best extra-virgin olive oil and some basil leaves (optional)

Method

To make the polenta

Bring the milk/water to the simmer and add some salt and pepper. With a steady hand, slowly pour in the polenta, whisking constantly to avoid lumps. Cook for 3 minutes, stirring gently, until the texture resembles soft cream.

Add the butter and cheese and mix well. Season with plenty of black pepper and taste first before adding salt as the cheese will provide a fair amount of that. Turn off the direct heat, and let the mixture sit in the warm pan while you deal with the topping.

To cook the prawns & tomatoes

Heat the olive oil in a large sauté pan and throw in the prawns. When they change colour, add the brandy and let it heat up for a couple of seconds. Set it alight, and when the flames start to die down, shake the pan well to distribute the juices.

Now add the tomatoes and let them collapse in the heat. Be careful not to overcook the prawns.

To serve

Spread a base of polenta on each serving plate and top with the prawns and tomatoes. Sprinkle with a little basil if you like and finish with a judicious lick of your best extra-virgin oil.

Wine recommendation:

This Istrian recipe idea comes from Robert Golic the chef at Agrolaguna, producer of our Vina Laguna Malvazija, which is the perfect match.

Alternatively, look across the Adriatic to Italy and try with Gavi or Soave, perhaps, or head out east into the Mediterranean and to Greece for more summery whites. May/June 2016

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