Garlic Cheddar Polenta with Shrimp and Asparagus

Do you love asparagus?


Do you love it because of its sweetness? Do you love it because of it’s symbol of spring? Or are you like Nate, who just recently came to love it because of someone else’s persistence in pushing this vegetable?

I must say that I can’t think of anything that complements asparagus more than shrimp. We had yummy success in the past with our Quinoa Salad with Shrimp and Asparagus recipe. So when I came across this recipe in Fine Cooking for polenta with shrimp and asparagus, I had to try it out.

Polenta, Grits, Whatever

The original recipe actually calls for for grits but since I didn’t have any white cornmeal, I decided that I’d just have to adapt it slightly. I just happen to have a lot of polenta cornmeal leftover (after baking the Corn Bread) and I don’t want it to go to waste. After all, polenta and grits are just cousins from the other side of the pond. (Please don’t hurt me for saying that polenta and grits are pretty much the same thing!)

And please don’t get me wrong, I love grits too, It’s just that cornmeal gets rancid pretty quickly so I want to try to use up my stash as quickly as possible (or else resort to freezing it— but my freezer is full enough without trying to shove more into it!).

Garlic Cheddar Polenta with Shrimp and Asparagus

Garlic Cheddar Polenta with Shrimp and Asparagus

This recipe is so yummy. It’s because of that Worcestershire sauce man; it’s killer with shrimp if you haven’t already discovered that from my other shrimp recipe with W sauce. And of course, it doesn’t hurt to put sharp cheddar in the polenta either!

I actually made extra polenta because I wanted to have leftovers that would harden up that I could then make into cakes. But I ended up eating all the leftover shrimp and asparagus with the polenta the next day (the polenta was hard but softened once I heated it up in the microwave). Next time, I guess I’ll have to make even more!

Garlic Cheddar Polenta with Shrimp and Asparagus

adapted from Fine Cooking


4 Tbs. unsalted butter
1 clove garlic, minced
2-1/3 cups low-salt chicken broth
1/2 cup polenta corn meal
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
1/2 cup grated extra-sharp Cheddar
1/2 lb. medium-thick asparagus, trimmed and sliced on the diagonal into 1-inch pieces
1 lb. large shrimp, peeled and deveined
2 Tbs. Worcestershire sauce
1 to 2 scallions (green parts only), thinly sliced


  1. Heat 1/2 Tbs. of butter in a medium saucepan over medium heat. Add the garlic and cook until fragrant, 30 to 60 seconds.
  2. Add the broth and bring to a boil over high heat. While stirring constantly, pour in the grits and 1/4 tsp. salt. Reduce the heat to low, cover, and cook, stirring occasionally, until the grits are thickened, 15 to 20 minutes.
  3. Stir in the Cheddar cheese.
  4. Season to taste. Cover the polenta and set aside.
  5. Heat 1 Tbs. of butter in a 12-inch skillet over medium-high heat. Add the asparagus, sprinkle with a little salt, and cook, stirring frequently, until crisp-tender and a little browned, 3 to 4 minutes.
  6. Add the shrimp and cook until the shrimp is opaque and the asparagus is tender, 2 to 3 minutes.
  7. Reduce the heat to low and add the Worcestershire sauce. Melt the remaining 2-1/2 Tbs. butter into the shrimp and asparagus. Season to taste.
  8. Serve the shrimp and asparagus over the polenta, sprinkled with the scallions.

Garlic Cheddar Polenta with Shrimp and Asparagus

Garlic Cheddar Polenta with Shrimp and Asparagus

A delicious weekday meal that you can whip up quite quickly. So make it soon, ‘kay?

Cheers, Annie

21 thoughts on “Garlic Cheddar Polenta with Shrimp and Asparagus”

  1. >We liked this idea right away, and, unlike you, we have a big box of grits just sitting there getting old? We will make this one. Thanks, s

  2. >I love asparagus just by itself, but having the cheddar polenta and shrimp makes the dish look even more delicious.

  3. >I actually never liked asparagus as a child (or any vegetables other than cucumbers!). Fast forward much into my adulthood, and I figured out the reason I didn’t like vegetables is because my mom cooked them to death, or they were canned and tasteless.

    Now I eat just about any vegetable out there (except no onions!!)

    I’ll definitely put this on the list of things to make – I am adding you to my blog roll so I can find you easily!

  4. >Gorgeous! I love asparagus, and even make pilgrimages several times each spring to a farm in Connecticut that grows acres of asparagus. You can go into the sorting room and buy by size, and the asparagus has been cut just that morning so it’s fresh enough to eat raw!

  5. >I’m totally making this! Big polenta fan, and my blog photographer is a sucker for anything with shrimp.

  6. >I bought a pack of polenta for baking, and now I know I can add it in savoury dishes too. The melted cheese and asparagus look so delectable.

  7. >YES!! asparagus & Shrimp.. have been doing a lot with the asparagus lately.. this sounds like an awesome combo ..

  8. >@all – thanks for the comments!

    @s.stockwell – let us know how it comes out for you!

    @biz319 – I think this is a reason why many people don’t like vegetables. Those that are picked fresh and cooked right are simply delicious.

    Thanks for adding us to your blogroll! We appreciate it.

    @Cynthia – hi there! Thanks for delurking 🙂

    @Lydia – we’d like to grow our own asparagus…one day…

    @Blue – I’d love to hear back about how it turned out!

    @noobcook – polenta is very versatile.

  9. >That looks so good!!

    Asparagus is good alone or added to dishes. So amazing!

  10. >I love asparagus and eat myself silly on them throughout spring. That’s because once the season is over, you always regret not eating more.

  11. >Mmmm, the combination of shrimp and worcestshire sounds awesome – totally making this.

  12. >I’ve been looking at that Fine Cooking recipe, too! Your version looks delish. Will have to give this a try soonest!

  13. >That asparagus looks AMAZING! I am dreaming of Spring now (it’s almost winter in Australia…)

  14. >@Melissa – so true!

    @Carolyn – as a recent convert to loving asparagus, I confess that I’ve not eaten to much of it!

    @zotium – thank you kindly!

    @Cate – hey, let us know how it turns out for you!

    @Digigirl – how’d you like it?

    @Gail – something to look forward to!

  15. >Annie,
    I made this for dinner few days ago. It was the 1st time I used sharp cheddar cheese, I was shocked it tasted bitter, I had to mixed half parmesan cheese to tone down the bitterness.

    Hubby said we should try this again with mild cheddar/parmesan.

    Annie, what is the best cheese to substitute extra sharp cheddar from the reipe?

    Thanks & love your blog!


  16. >For all the asparagus I've had, I've never actually cooked it with shrimp. Really have to try that combo, especially with this garlic cheddar polenta.

  17. >@Sandrine – When we had it, sharp cheddar didn't taste bitter to us (but that's our taste). Parmesan would add a nice flavor to it but it doesn't melt as well as the cheddar. I'd say go with a mild cheddar, or you could even leave the cheese out.

    @JS – cool! Let us know how it comes out.

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