I recently noticed that I had an extra jar of chunky salsa on hand from my recipe-testing day job. Now, a thing to know about me is that I’m a salsa snob. But I wasn’t always this way. Years ago, I discovered Garden Fresh Gourmet Salsa, which at the time was just a little local brand of salsa made in Ferndale, MI and sold in a few grocery stores in the area. Well, then I actually moved TO Ferndale and loved it even more, and now it’s a popular brand sold at stores across the country. Instead of jarred shelf-stable salsa (like the kind I found in the cupboard), it’s a refrigerated salsa made from all fresh ingredients. It’s packed with tons of fresh cilantro – yum. Well, this salsa has made me a salsa snob, and now jarred salsa just isn’t quite the same, at least to eat with chips. So, this leftover jar of salsa wasn’t going to get much love.
Cue this recipe. I used that chunky salsa and pureed it up with a chipotle pepper. When it’s through with a spin in the blender, you actually can’t even tell it’s salsa! It’s just a spicy tomato sauce. I served it here with shrimp, but this would also be a good sauce to serve with grilled chicken, steak or fish.
I used a roll of refrigerated polenta to make the polenta cakes. I thought this particular brand (Frieda’s Organic) tasted pretty good, but I’ve heard that some refrigerated polenta rolls can be less than stellar. If you wanted to make a homemade polenta roll and start with that, instructions can be found here. Or, if you wanted to serve the shrimp and sauce mixture over loose, soft polenta, you could use the polenta recipe from Cajun-Style Shrimp & Polenta.
Griddled Polenta Cakes and Spicy Chipotle Shrimp
- 1 roll refrigerated polenta, cut into 1/4-inch slices
- 1 chipotle pepper in adobo sauce (plus a teaspoon of the adobo sauce if you’d like it extra spicy)
- 1 jar (15.5 ounces) mild chunky salsa
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 3 garlic cloves, minced
- 4 green onions (white and light green parts only), finely chopped
- 1-1/4 pounds raw 26-30 count peeled and deveined shrimp
- 1/3 cup dry white wine
- 1/2 teaspoon dried marjoram
- 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
- 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
- Chopped fresh cilantro leaves, for garnish
- Preheat oven to 200 degrees F. In a nonstick skillet or on a griddle sprayed with nonstick spray, cook polenta slices for 3 to 4 minutes per side or until golden brown. Transfer to a rimmed baking pan and place in oven to keep warm.
- In a blender or food processor, puree chipotle pepper and salsa until smooth.
- In a large skillet, heat oil over medium-high heat. Add garlic and onions; cook 3 to 5 minutes or until onions are softened. Add shrimp, cook 3 minutes. Stir in wine, marjoram, salt and pepper; cook 2 minutes. Add salsa mixture; cook 1 to 2 minutes or until shrimp turn opaque throughout and reach an internal temperature of 145 degrees F, stirring frequently.
- Serve shrimp mixture over polenta cakes, sprinkled with cilantro.