Spring Polenta with Peas, Shrimp & Asparagus

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The weather is always indecisive in spring. We had a few good days where it was very warm. One where we could actually be outside without wearing a jacket. Then the temperature dropped again and I was back wearing my winter jacket. And yesterday we had hail. So in the spirit of sunny but cold days I made this spring polenta. Still comforting but with more veggies. I wanted to also top it with some Parmesan shavings but I only realized I had forgotten it after I finished shooting. So add some if you like. We have been going nuts buying plants and seeds in preparation for our new apartment since it has a garden. We will only be moving in summer but we are already growing some plants in our balcony and my prop room has become a green house. We grew this green basil ourselves and cannot wait for all our other plants to grow.

This recipe serves 3.

Ingredients:

For the shrimp:

250gr of shrimp, peeled and deveined

2 tablespoons of olive oil

Pinch of garlic powder

Pinch of salt

Pinch of celery salt

Zest of 1 lemon

Juice of ½ a lemon

For the asparagus:

150grs of thin asparagus, thinly sliced except for the tips (If you get the thick asparagus just cook them longer)

1 tablespoon of olive oil

Pinch of salt

Pinch of garlic powder

For the pea polenta:

¾ cup of coarse yellow cornmeal

2 cups of frozen peas

3 1/2 cups of boiling vegetable stock or water

250ml of cream

Salt

Pinch of celery salt

Pinch of garlic powder

Extras:

Handful of micro basil (I used green and purple)

Juice of ½ a lemon

2 tablespoons of olive oil

Salt

Edible flowers (optional)

 

Pour 1 tablespoon of olive oil into a large pan over medium heat. Once the pan is hot, add the asparagus, a pinch of salt and garlic powder. Saute them for about 2 minutes. Set them aside.

In the same pan, add 2 tablespoons of olive oil. Once the oil is hot, add the shrimp, garlic powder, celery salt, and salt. Cook for about 3-4 minutes until the shrimp are pink. The time will depend on the size of your shrimp, mine were small. Then add the lemon juice and zest. Cook for an extra minute while tossing. Set it aside.

For the polenta, place the frozen peas in the jar of the blender and add the boiling stock or water. Let it sit for 30 seconds so that the peas get blenched and then blend until smooth. Pass it through a fine mesh sieve.

Pour the pea stock (reserve ¼ of a cup of the pea stock), cream, salt, celery salt, and garlic powder into a medium saucepan over medium heat. Once it starts simmering, slowing sprinkle the cornmeal while whisking. Whisk on medium-low heat for about 8 minutes until it becomes creamy and it is fully cooked. It is important to keep whisking to avoid lumps from forming.

Once the polenta is cooked, add the remaining ¼ of a cup of the pea stock if it needs to loosen up a bit. Taste for salt.

In a small bowl, mix the micro basil with the lemon juice, olive oil and salt.

Serve the polenta with the asparagus, shrimp, dressed micro basil and edible flowers.

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Green Salad with Tonkatsu and Sesame Vinaigrette

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Yesterday night, I went with my hubby to Pocha Factory to eat Korean fried chicken wings in the pop-up they hosted in Amsterdam. We knew the fried chicken wings were really good from last time we went there. This time around, Korean BBQ beef sliders were added to the menu and they were served with a secret sauce. They were so good! If you are in Amsterdam, check their social media to know when they will host a pop-up again. The place was full so I wouldn’t be surprised if it’s soon.

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OK, so back to the recipe. This is a super easy Asian style salad. I love the crunchy pork cutlets which are still juicy in the center, the crunchiness of the sugar snaps and radishes. And of course the sesame vinaigrette which just brings everything together. And you can also serve it as rice paper rolls. Ad if you don’t like pork, you can make it with chicken, or make it vegetarian by using tofu instead.

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This recipe serves 4.

Ingredients:

4 pork cutlets

300gr of sugar snaps

8 radishes, thinly sliced

1 cup of edamame

400gr of arugula, I used wasabi arugula which has a bit of a stronger flavor

2 eggs, beaten

1 ½ cups of panko

8 tablespoons of flour

Salt

Pepper

Vegetable oil for pan-frying

For the vinaigrette:

¼ of a cup of sesame oil

1/3 of a cup of white vinegar

3 tablespoons of honey

2 tablespoons of soy sauce

1 tablespoon of ginger syrup

Juice of 1 lime

 

For the edamame, just follow the instructions on the package. I usually buy it frozen but this time I got it ready to go.

For the sugar snaps, I just sautéed them in a pan with a bit of vegetable oil until tender-crisp. You can also just blanch them.

To make the vinaigrette, place all of the ingredients in a jar with a lid, seal it and shake it. Set aside.

To make the Tonkatsu, place each cutlet in between parchment paper and flatten them using a rolling pin.

Place the flour, beaten eggs and panko in separate plates. Add salt and pepper to each plate and mix it in.

Season each cutlet with salt and pepper. Then coat each one in the flour first, then the egg and finally the panko. Press with your fingers so each piece is completely coated in panko.

Add some vegetable oil to a large pan over medium heat. Once the pan is hot, add the breaded pork. I cooked 2 at a time. They will need about 4 to 5 minutes per side. Make sure that the oil is not extremely hot though, otherwise it will brown too fast and the pork won’t be thoroughly cooked. Place them on paper towels to absorb some of the oil. Then transfer them to a cutting board and thinly slice them.

To plate up, divide the arugula between 4 plates. Then add the sugar snaps, radishes and edamame. Place each sliced cutlet on top of the salad and serve the dressing on the side.

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