Polenta and shrimp, hot, with no snow.

blogff0332.JPGFerdinand asked me to send lunch to school with him because he said all they feed him is fish and slime and I said, what am I going to send? You don’t eat cheese or peanut butter or ham or anything that will be cold by the time it gets there like pasta with broccoli or chicken soup. I can either give you a banana sandwich with extra butter or a pineapple or a tub of ice cream. “Yea”, he said “OK.”
Last night he ate little bits of tofu that were seared off with fresh ginger and garlic and then tossed around with soba noodles, and I have no idea why. He will eat polenta, raw carrots, corn on the cob, turkey meatballs in pan gravy and fried eggs with toast. And snow. In my freezer, I have big chunks of snow that he keeps to chew on every once in a while when he can’t find anything else he is in the mood for. “What is the teacher going to think of me I asked him, if I pack snow in your lunch box and I call myself a cook?”
“She’ll like it”, he said. “She’ll think that’s good.”
I didn’t pack anything. I told him to eat as much breakfast as he could before leaving, and he could eat when he got home. Ferd will have have his polenta straight up, but we are going to have ours with some spicy shrimp.
Make the polenta by using 3 parts water to one part cornmeal. Bring the water to the boil with salt and then add the cornmeal in a steady stream, stirring constantly with a whisk. Turn the heat down to a simmer, and switch to a wooden spoon. Stir for either five minutes or 30, depending on if you have the quick cook or the regular. (the regular is better, but if you don’t have the time, the 5 minute is OK.) Add a pile of grated parmesan and a little butter and fold in gently.
For the shrimp, mince a shallot and three cloves of garlic. Chop a few tablespoons of fresh parsely finely. Lay all the shrimp onto a sheet of wax paper, and season evenly with kosher salt.
Heat up a heavy saute pan with a little olive oil and butter. Add the shallot and garlic, and over medium heat, cook until just beginning to go golden. Add the parsley and about 10 red pepper flakes. After maybe 10 or 20 seconds, add the shrimp in a single layer. Don’t move around. Let it get good and golden on the one side, and start to whiten around the edges. Flip. Cook until just cooked through and starting to curl. Remove from the pan with tongs and transfer to a plate. Turn off the heat and swirl in a few tablespoons of unsalted butter. Give a squeeze of fresh lemon juice and taste. Pour over the shrimp.
Serve with grated zucchini that has been tossed around in a hot pan with olive oil, garlic and salt.

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