Tuesday, December 11, 2012


1 cup polenta
6 thick slices bacon, chopped into chunks
1 shallot, chopped
2 1/2 cups whole milk
1 cup heavy cream
1 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
3 tablespoons butter

Port Wine Fig Sauce:
1 teaspoon butter
1 shallot, chopped
1 cup dried figs, chopped
1/4 cup red onion, chopped
1 teaspoon salt
1/4 cup sugar
3 cup port wine
1 1/2 cups red wine
1 cinnamon stick
6 cloves
10 whole Allspice
10 whole black peppercorns
4 pieces star anise

Bacon Wrapped Shrimp:
6 slices thin cut bacon
12 large shrimp, tail on shelled and deveined
1 tablespoon thyme, picked
Salt and pepper, to taste 
Oil, as needed

Frisee greens (for example arugula) 
Extra virgin olive oil, as needed
Salt and pepper, to taste

Polenta: Render bacon and caramelize the shallots, then strain the contents and reserve the bacon fat. Add the milk, cream, salt and pepper. Bring to a simmer then whisk in the polenta. Simmer on low until most of the liquid has cooked out and the polenta is soft. Stir in the butter.

Port Wine Fig Sauce: In a medium saucepan, heat the butter and sauté the shallot, dried fig and red onion. Season with the salt. When the mixture has sweat out, add the sugar and turn the heat to high. Caramelize the sugar, then add the port, red wine, cinnamon, cloves, allspice, black peppercorns and star anise. Bring to a boil, then reduce the heat to a simmer. Reduce the sauce until it is sauce consistency, nape. Strain the sauce through a fine mesh strainer. Turn the heat off, then let the halved figs sit in the sauce to reconstitute.

Bacon Wrapped Shrimp: Cut the bacon strips in half, lay them all out and sprinkle the thyme on each strip. Wrap the shrimp, thyme on the inside, starting at the head end of the shrimp. Then, in a large sauté pan over medium high heat, using a bit of oil, sauté the bacon wrapped shrimp. The pan needs to be hot enough that the bacon doesn't stick to the pan but not too high because you don’t want the bacon to brown before the shrimp is cooked through. When the bacon is golden brown the shrimp should be done. Season to taste.

Assembly: Place the polenta in the center of a small plate, then place the shrimp on top of it in an interlocking position. Drizzle the sauce and place the figs. Two shrimp and two figs per plate. Garnish with some frisee greens tossed with extra virgin olive oil, salt and pepper.

bacon recipe courtesy of: Grayson Schmitz, Top Chef, Season 9, Episode 2, Elimination Challenge; Bravo

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