Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Balsamic Prawns on Sweet Pepper Polenta w/Fennel & Shallot Jam AKA: Paper Chef #49 Winner Announced

What would you make with Prawns, Sweet Peppers, Fennel and the theme of Passion? Several extremely creative folks answered that question and generously gave us their recipes and how-to's. I am fortunate enough to have the difficult job, this month, of choosing a Paper Chef #49 winner. I'm really sincere when I say this: There is not a clunker in the bunch. These dishes could be their own site. I hope you'll bookmark this round-up and use it over and over!

Now, even though I'm not eligible for the challenge, I still wanted to play along, so I made a dish, too. I hope it's worthy to be with these other phenoms.

Balsamic Prawns on Red Pepper Polenta w/ Spicy Fennel & Shallot Jam
I have a PASSION for all things Italian, so I challenged myself to use the Paper Chef ingredients with other classic Italian ingredients and add a modern presentation to them.

The PRAWNS/White Tiger Shrimp were simply broiled after being drizzled with Balsamic Vinegar, Fiorano Olive Oil, salt and pepper.


2 1/2 cups Vegetable Stock
1 cup Corn Polenta
1/2 cup Roasted Sweet Peppers (char roast, peel/seed and chop)
1 Tbls. Butter

Heat the stock and the peppers in a sauce pan til simmering. Sprinkle in the Polenta, a little at a time, stirring constantly to avoid clumping. Cook on low for about 15 minutes or until creamy. Take off the heat and stir in butter, salt and pepper to taste.

(this is not a recipe for canning jam, just for immediate or refrigerator jam)

1/2 cup of Fennel bulb (cut in thin slivers)
1/4 cup of Shallot (chopped)
1 tsp. Red Pepper flakes
2 Tbls. fresh lemon juice
1/4 cup water
1/2 cup sugar

In a sauce pan combine the fennel, shallots and red pepper flakes with 1/4 cup water. Heat on low to soften the fennel and shallots (for about 10 minutes). Add the sugar and lemon juice and increase the heat to Med/High. Stir often and boil til thickened (about 215F, or about 10 minutes.) Remove from heat and hold. Refrigerate any un-used jam (good for several weeks.)

To Plate:

Place an oiled circle mold on the plate and fill half way up with Polenta. Remove circle.
On top of polenta, place a Tbls. of Fennel & Shallot jam. Press 1-2 shrimp into the center of the jam and serve.

Quote from Teen-age son: (Nothing, but he handed me an empty plate after-wards. Sometimes words are not needed.)
And here is the Fabulous Passion-Peppers-Prawns & Fennel lineup:

Bill's Brew-B-Que
Using his passion for the grill, Bill made "Mothership Wit Superbowl Skewers"
. The picture of the beer made me want to reach up and grab/drink it. The marinaded shrimp sound delicious! His passion for cooking is contagious and a fun name for his blog.

Prospect: The Pantry created a cozy, inviting Seafood Pot-pie with Fennel and Peppers, even though she was snowed in (which played well into her passion that included resourcefulness and making the most of all things).

I Could Even Eat a Baby Deer has a really fun spirited post and a recipe for a Prawn Burger and Pineapple Salsa that looks very flavorful. Always a nice read, here, too.

Lucullian Delights created a beautiful dish of Grappa and Fennel seed infused Prawns on a bed of Chickpea Puree. As always, her pictures are amazing too. Ilva is the gracious and talented co-host of Paper Chef and we newbies are so thankful that she continues this fun food event.

Culinary Annotations has a colorful and hunger-provoking dish of Italian inspired Prawns and a burst of Cognac is introduced. I'm drooling just typing about it. I particularly loved the information that is shared in the post, also.

Spikey Mikey's wrapped these ingredients up in a Rice Paper wrapper where the stripes of the red pepper showing through are such a fun presentation. This also sounds like a dish you would eat and feel good about what you just did for your body. Mike is also a Co-host and has been extremely patient with my many questions.

I'm sure it's no coincidence that this is such a long running challenge AND the two hosts are so passionate and generous.

Oh, it's SO hard to pick only one. Sorry for rambling, but having entered a few of these online events in my "less that a year blogging" time, I just want to applaud ALL of these entries. My final decision is just a personal feeling (which has been said to me in the casting world a lot, too) and here goes:

The Paperchef #49 winner is: Prospect: The Pantry (the use of almost every morsel of everything: shells for stock, stems for flavor and the feelings of cold and warm coming across in this tasty looking flaky pie just played my heart strings on this one.)

Great job, and I'll be visiting all these blogs over and over!

1 comment:

SPORTS SHORTS - Original Videos from Pete Handelman said...

fennel and shallot jam - yum. two of my favorite foods. awesome blog, cathie! cant wait to try a few of these recipes