How to Make Parmesan Polenta With Capers, Garlic, and Shrimp

Helena Ricketts is a freelance writer currently living in Indiana who loves writing about cooking.

Parmesan polenta with garlic, capers and shrimp paired with a warm kale salad.

Parmesan polenta with garlic, capers and shrimp paired with a warm kale salad.

I visited Savannah, Georgia, a couple of years ago and stopped into a restaurant on the Savannah River that had shrimp and grits on the menu. I have eaten at least a thousand pounds of shrimp over my lifetime and had eaten grits but had never considered combining the two together. It was delicious. As you may have guessed from what I just told you, I'm from the northern part of the country.

After a recent craving for shrimp and grits and my unsuccessful attempt at acquiring grits that weren't instant, I decided to switch it over to polenta. In my opinion, polenta and grits are not the same but the two might be interchangeable with each other depending on your taste. I personally don't mind but if I had access to real grits instead of the instant variety, my opinion may be different.

This recipe is the result of my craving for something that I ate on a beautiful starry evening beside the Savannah River. It's not the same but it did the trick for quelling my craving for something different. The capers and garlic are a lovely combination of two of my favorite flavors. Paired with the creaminess of the polenta with an overtone of parmesan, it is a dish that I will be making again very soon.

I paired this with my quick warm kale salad and the two complimented each other perfectly. The crunchiness of the salad was a very nice compliment to the creaminess of the polenta. This is a great dinner for any time of the year and if you can enjoy it with a river side view, I highly recommend it.

How Long Does It Take?

Prep timeCook timeReady inYields

10 min

40 min

50 min

4 servings

The Ingredients to Make Creamy Polenta With Garlic, Capers, and Shrimp


Ingredient List

  • 1 cup cornmeal, for polenta, the fresher the cornmeal the better
  • 4 cups chicken broth, for polenta
  • 1 Tablespoon unsalted butter, for polenta
  • 3/4 cup freshly grated parmesan cheese, for polenta, please do not use the powder canned stuff, it is not the same!
  • 1 pound raw shrimp, shelled, cleaned with tail removed
  • 1 shallot, chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic, finely chopped
  • 1 Tablespoon capers, I used purple basil from last year's garden
  • 1 Tablespoon basil, I used purple basil from last year's garden
  • 1 Tablespoon butter
  • 2 Tablespoons olive oil
  • salt and freshly ground pepper, to your liking

What Are Capers?

Interesting Facts About Capers

  • The caper bush is also sometimes called the Flinder's rose.
  • Capers are flower buds.
  • They are used in culinary dishes after they have been pickled in a brine.
  • Capers are usually seen in Mediterrian cuisine.
  • Caper leaves are an alternative to animal rennet in cheese making.
  • They contain a high amount of selenium, which is believed to prevent some forms of cancer.

How to Make Parmesan Polenta With Garlic, Capers, and Shrimp

  1. Make sure that you have chopped the garlic and shallot and cleaned your shrimp before you start making the polenta. I used a 5 quart pan to make my polenta. Pour the chicken broth into the pan and add 1 Tablespoon of butter.
  2. Bring the broth to a boil over medium high heat.
  3. Whisk the broth in a circular motion, following the outside of your pan with the whisk to create a whirlpool for 30 seconds. Slowly add the cornmeal in a steady stream. You do not want to add all of the cornmeal at once because if you do, your polenta will be lumpy instead of creamy.
  4. Once all of the cornmeal is whisked in you will want to turn the heat down to medium low and continue slowly stirring with the whisk until the polenta starts to thicken.
  5. Once the polenta has become thick, turn the heat down to low and put the lid on your pan.
  6. Cook the polenta for approximately 25 minutes. The cook time will depend on how coarsly ground your cornmeal is. You will want to switch from the whisk to a spoon and stir the polenta every five minutes.
  7. Once it has become creamy and not gritty to the taste, you will want to pour in the parmesan cheese. Stir the cheese in so it will melt. Your polenta is now finished so you can put the lid back on and turn the heat completely off. It will keep warm for quite a while.
  8. To make the garlic, capers and shrimp, you'll need a frying, saute or iron skillet. I used a 10" iron skillet to make mine. Put the 1 tablespoon of butter and the olive oil in the pan.
  9. Turn the heat onto medium. Once the butter has melted, add the shallot and cook it for a couple of minutes until it starts to soften.
  10. Add the garlic to the pan and stir. I overcooked the garlic a bit in my photos, you really do not want to brown it, you just want to soften it and infuse the flavor into the butter and olive oil.
  11. The rest of the recipe will go really fast because shrimp only takes a couple of minutes to cook. Add the shrimp to the pan and cook it for approximately 1 minute. It will start to have a pink hue to it.
  12. Add the capers and the basil to the pan. Stir it for a couple of minutes until the shrimp is cooked. You'll know that your shrimp is done when it turns pink.
  13. Put a couple of spoonfulls of polenta on the plate and top it with the shrimp. The butter and olive oil containing the shallot, garlic, capers and basil is then spooned over the top of the shrimp and polenta to complete the dish.

The End Result...

Heaven on a plate.

Heaven on a plate.


Wayne from Gainesville , Florida on April 24, 2015:

Congrats on HOTD, I can't wait to try this recipe, it looks wonderful. Your picture show the recipe steps very well

DebMartin on April 24, 2015:

Yum, yum. I love polenta and, in my humble northern opinion, I think you've made a better substitute for grits. And capers! Love it!

Chitrangada Sharan from New Delhi, India on April 24, 2015:

Congratulations for HOTD!

This recipe sounds really delicious and you presented this very well.

Thanks for sharing the detailed instructions and helpful pictures.

Voted up!

Aunice Yvonne Reed from Southern California on April 23, 2015:

Looks like a delicious dish! Yummy! I eat kosher, so don't eat shrimp but might try it with fish. Oh yeah, congrats on Hub of the Day:)

Susan Deppner from Arkansas USA on April 23, 2015:

I've never made polenta and probably haven't even tasted it, and the same is true with capers. Now you have me craving both with your descriptions and wonderful-sounding recipe. Must try this soon! Congratulations on well-deserved Hub of the Day honors!

Consolacion Miravite from Philippines on April 23, 2015:

Awesome! The pics are nice, and it made me hungry just looking at it. Shrimps are always delicious, especially if bought fresh. Cooking it with parmesan and garlic would surely add "oomph" to the recipe. Well written and a great hub! A thumbs up!

poetryman6969 on April 23, 2015:

I don't care for shrimp but I would like to try Parmesan polenta.

stella vadakin from 3460NW 50 St Bell, Fl32619 on April 23, 2015:

Hi, your photos look so good I am ready for lunch. I love the shrimp and would love to make this recipe.Best Wishes on HOTD.

stella vadakin from 3460NW 50 St Bell, Fl32619 on April 23, 2015:

Hi, your photos make me want to try your recipe. The shrimp look delicious and I am ready for lunch. Thanks for your interesting hub and best wishes on HOTD.

Mary Hyatt from Florida on April 23, 2015:

Congrats on HOTD. Your dish looks SO good. I am an ole' Southern gal who grew up on grits, and still love them. I've never tried polenta, but now I just might.

I'm very familiar with that area in Savannah down by the river. My daughter lives in Savannah, so we I visit her we always go to one of the many restaurants there.

Voted this UP, etc.

Kristen Howe from Northeast Ohio on April 23, 2015:

Congrats on HOTD! I brought polenta last month and have been dying to try it this year. I might give this a go this spring, if it's not too cumbersome for me. Voted up for useful!

Eileen from Western Cape , South Africa on April 23, 2015:

Thank you for the step-by -step instructions . Congrats on HOTD !

Thelma Alberts from Germany on April 23, 2015:

Congratulations on the HOTD award. Reading and seeing how you did it in your step by step instructions made me hungry. Yummy! Thanks for sharing the recipe.

Besarien from South Florida on April 23, 2015:

Hi Helena! Congratulations on HotD!

peachy from Home Sweet Home on April 23, 2015:

i like your step by step photos, very easy to follow and the instructions are clear. Thank

Helena Ricketts (author) from Indiana on April 20, 2015:

It's easier than what it sounds. The hardest parts are when you stir the cornmeal in, to KEEP stirring so it doesn't get lumpy and not overcooking the shrimp. It only takes a minute or two depending on the size of the shrimp you use. When you do try it, please come back and let me know what you thought!

Anthony from United State on April 18, 2015:

Hi im no chef but I'm going to give this a shot hope it turns out good, thanks im going to follow what you did.

Besarien from South Florida on April 17, 2015:

This sounds like heaven on a plate to me. No one else at my house seems to think that way. My son and husband are both low fat, high protein people. My son won't eat carbs that he can avoid. Next time I know that I will be on all my own, this is what I'm having for dinner!

Randomovic from Egypt on April 17, 2015:

wow i'm a big fan of shrimps and garlic . i'm so trying this one. thanks.

Helena Ricketts (author) from Indiana on April 16, 2015:

@Hezekiah- Thank you! If you make it, please come back and let me know what you thought. :)

Hezekiah from Japan on April 16, 2015:

This looks delicious thank you for sharing. Another recipe to try.

Helena Ricketts (author) from Indiana on April 15, 2015:

Thank you so much!

Jomana H on April 15, 2015:

Delicious recipe, Thank you

Helena Ricketts (author) from Indiana on April 11, 2015:

Thank you @Racle L Alba! You are right, there are so many ways to make polenta. I'd really be interested in trying that recipe if you post it. It's always wonderful to learn something new!

Rachel L Alba from Every Day Cooking and Baking on April 11, 2015:

Hi Helena. I grew up eating polenta that my Nona made. It was quite different, the way she made it. But there are other ways of making it and yours looks so good, I love it just looking at it. Maybe some day I'll feature my Nona's polenta in HP. Thank you for sharing. Voted up and awesome.

Blessings to you.

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