Creamy Shrimp & Polenta with Blackened Trout

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Shrimp and polenta with blackened trout is an amazing weeknight meal. It’s easy to prepare, making it perfect for busy weeknights and gourmet enough for even the fanciest parties. The succulent shrimp goes superbly with lightly spicy blackened trout, while the creamy polenta adds a comforting note. Plenty of Cajun spices and fresh herbs complete this delectable dish, so you’ll be able to serve up something that’s sure to satisfy everyone’s taste buds. Best of all, leftovers make a great meal the next day!

Creamy Shrimp & Polenta with Blackened Trout

Why We Love This Recipe

  • The creamy shrimp and cheesy polenta work well together and makes for an extremely flavorful sauce. While the blackened trout adds a nice spicy flavor to the dish.
  • This dish is relatively easy to make, yet it looks and tastes like something you would get at a restaurant. This dish is sure to impress your guests!
  • The recipe can be easily adapted to your own taste preferences. For example, you could use different types of seafood or swap out the polenta for another type of grain such as quinoa. You can also add red bell pepper, baby spinach or choose to deglaze with white wine instead of chicken broth.
  • It’s also a great way to use up any leftover shrimp or fish that you may have on hand.
  • Lastly, it’s just a really delicious and satisfying meal made with pantry staples that you’ll want to make again and again!

What is polenta?

Polenta is a classic dish that originated in Northern Italy and can be served in numerous ways. Its primary ingredient is cornmeal, which offers texture and flavor to the dish. It can range from being very soft and creamy to firm and solid, depending on your preference. Polenta is typically flavored with spices, mushrooms, cheese or anything else you desire. Versatile like pasta, it can also be served as a side dish or even as an appetizer. Furthermore, it pairs perfectly with sauces like tomato or pesto, making it a family favorite. When feeling adventurous in the kitchen, polenta is sure to be a success!

What’s the difference between polenta and grits?

While both polenta and grits are traditional kinds of cornmeal dishes commonly found in the Southern United States, their significant difference is in the ingredients used. Grits can be made with either white or yellow corn whereas polenta is usually made from yellow cornmeal. Additionally, the texture between these two dishes differs slightly; polenta has a smoother, silkier consistency while grits are more granular.

Ingredients Needed

For the Creamy Cheesy Polenta

  • Coarse Stoneground Cornmeal – We prefer stone ground over quick and instant polenta.
  • Chicken Broth or Chicken Stock – Water can be used as well
  • Heavy Cream – Can be substituted with milk or half and half. We love the richness heavy cream adds to the polenta without the need to add butter.
  • Smoked Gouda – The smoky, nutty flavors of this cheese meld perfectly with the creamy texture of the polenta for an unbeatable experience.
  • Cheddar Cheese – Cheddar cheese has a sharp, tangy flavor that can be overwhelming by itself, but when combined with smooth polenta it’s elevated to an entirely new level. It’s salty and sharp yet mellowed at the same time – just salty enough to bring out all the other flavors in your dish without stealing the spotlight.
  • Salt & Pepper – to taste

For the Blackened Trout

  • Trout Fillets
  • Blackening Seasoning – We love this blackening seasoning. You can also make your own.
  • Butter
  • Olive Oil

For the Cajun Shrimp Sauce

  • Shrimp – Medium or Large Shrimp
  • Bacon – We also love making this dish with spicy chorizo, andouille sausage and tasso ham so feel free to get creative!
  • Heavy Cream
  • Cajun Seasoning or Creole Seasoning – A blend of salt, cayenne pepper, black pepper, garlic powder, onion powder and other spices. If you use store bought Cajun seasonings be sure to check for salt because you more than likely will not need to add any additional salt to this dish.
  • Aromatics – Shallots or Red Onion, Green Onions, Garlic
  • Cherry Tomatoes – You can also use grape tomatoes
  • Fresh Lemon Juice
  • Chicken Broth
  • Better than Bouillon Roasted Chicken Base – Optional, but adds additional flavor
  • Avocado Oil – for sauteeing the aromatics
  • Cayenne Pepper – Or red pepper flakes
  • Salt & Pepper – to taste
cajun shrimp and grits

How to Make Creamy Cajun Shrimp and Cheese Polenta with Blackened Trout

How to Make the Cheese Polenta

In a saucepan, bring cream and chicken broth to a boil over medium-high heat. Add a pinch of salt if using reduced sodium broth. Reduce heat to low and whisk in cornmeal, stirring frequently. 

Simmer on low for 15-20 minutes. You can always add more liquid if the polenta becomes too thick. Remove from heat and stir in cheeses until melted and smooth. Add salt and pepper to taste.

Blacken the Trout

Before starting, make sure your kitchen is well-ventilated. It WILL get smoky.

Preheat a large, heavy skillet until extremely hot. In a shallow dish or mixing bowl add melted butter.

Dip each trout fillet into the butter and coat both sides.

Season fish with blackening seasoning pressing spices into the fillets.

Add a few tablespoons oil such as avocado oil or olive oil to the hot skillet. Once shimmering add seasoned fillets to the skillet. Cook 2-4 minutes on each side until charred (not burnt!). Set aside while we make the shrimp sauce.

How to Make the Creamy Shrimp Sauce

Peel and devein shrimp. You can purchase the shrimp already cleaned but be sure to double check they are fully deveined.

Pat shrimp dry with a paper towel. Sprinkle shrimp with Cajun seasoning, salt, pepper and cayenne pepper. As a reminder, you may not need salt if you’re using store-bought Cajun seasoning. Check the ingredients! Let rest.

Make the Bacon: Heat a large skillet over medium-low heat. You can use the same pan you used for the trout but be sure to wipe out any charred bits first.

Chop bacon into 1/2 – 1″ pieces. Add to heated skillet and cook until the fat has rendered and the bacon is crisp. Remove bacon and let rest on a paper toweled line plate.

Make the Shrimp: Turn up the skillet you cooked the bacon in to medium heat. Leave that bacon grease in there! Add seasoned shrimp in a single layer to the pan. Cook until shrimp are just opaque, about 2-3 minutes per side. Remove shrimp and let rest on a plate.

Cook Veggies and Aromatics: Add avocado oil to the skillet if needed. Heat oil and add shallots and tomatoes. Cook until softened about 3-4 minutes. Add garlic, green onions and chicken bouillon and cook for another 30 seconds or until fragrant.

Deglaze the Pan: Add chicken broth to deglaze scraping off any bits at the bottom of the pan. Let come to a simmer. Lower heat to medium-low and then add the heavy cream. Let simmer for 4-5 minutes or until mixture is slightly reduced and thickened. We do not add any additional thickeners such as flour or corn starch in this recipe.

Add Shrimp and Bacon: Return the shrimp and bacon to the skillet and let heat through for a couple of minutes. Remove from heat, squeeze in lemon juice and stir until combined.

Add salt and pepper to taste. 

Assemble the Dish: Whisk in a little cream or chicken broth the polenta if it has started to harden. Serve grits on bottom. Then top with blackened trout. Pour the creamy shrimp sauce over the fish and polenta. Garnish with green onions or fresh parsley. Enjoy!

shrimp, trout and polenta recipe

What can I substitute if I don’t like shrimp?

For those of us who aren’t fans of shrimp, this Cajun shrimp and polenta dish can be easily adapted to substitute something else without sacrificing its iconic spicy kick. Sub in chorizo or chicken for the same savory flavor profile with a lot of heat. Or if you aren’t in the mood for any meat, roasted vegetables like eggplant or peppers are a great way to introduce some bold flavor and color. With plenty of options available, it’s easier than ever to make this dish your own!

Can I use another type of fish in this recipe?

Sure, why not? You can practically use any kind of fish you’d like in this dish. The Cajun seasoning will enhance the flavor of almost any fish, so whether you prefer cod or tilapia or something more exotic, this dish will be even tastier with your favorite seafood.

What can I substitute for the polenta?

If you’re looking for a suitable substitute for polenta, why not consider using some quinoa or couscous? Both are delicious, healthy alternatives that can take the place of polenta. Quinoa is rich in protein and a great source of fiber, while couscous is a delicious pasta alternative. Both will help to add texture and character without missing out on any of the flavor. Play around with the ingredients and throw in your favorite spices to create a truly special meal!

What kind of cheese should I use for this recipe?

There are a variety of cheeses to choose from when making polenta, giving you the freedom to get creative. If you’re looking for an alternative to cheddar and smoked gouda, we suggest trying some soft cheeses like mozzarella or brie with gentle creaminess that will blend beautifully with polenta. For something a bit stronger in flavor and sharper in texture, try adding some manchego cheese, parmesan cheese or other freshly grated hard cheese. You can also use ricotta if you’re looking for some tangy richness. However, you decide to top off your polenta, by adding cheese it will be amped up in taste and creaminess!

This creamy Cajun shrimp and polenta with blackened trout recipe is a truly unique dish that satisfies even the pickiest eaters. Not only does it combine two seafood staples – shrimp and trout – but it is also flavored with a variety of herbs and spices that bring out the best of both proteins. The polenta provides the perfect foil for the zesty Cajun flavors, creating its own unique texture to add complexity to the overall dish. It’s an easy-to-follow recipe that results in a delicious gourmet meal you can make in your very own kitchen.

So, next time you’re looking for an impressive yet easy seafood dish to make at home, be sure to give this creamy Cajun shrimp and polenta with blackened trout recipe a try. It’s the perfect meal when you’re looking for something hearty and comforting. You’ll be glad you did!

Looking For More Cajun Inspired Dishes?

Creamy Shrimp & Polenta with Blackened Trout

Creamy Shrimp & Cheesy Polenta with Blackened Trout

Posted by Dee
Shrimp and polenta with blackened trout is an amazing weeknight meal. It's easy to prepare, making it perfect for busy weeknights and gourmet enough for even the fanciest parties.
5 from 56 votes
Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 30 minutes
Total Time 45 minutes
Course Main Dish
Cuisine Cajun
Servings 6 servings
Difficulty Medium

Ingredients
  

Cheese Grits

  • cups stoneground yellow cornmeal
  • 5 cups chicken broth
  • 1 cup heavy cream
  • 1 cup cheddar cheese, shredded
  • 1 cup smoked gouda, shredded
  • 1 tsp salt

Blackened Trout

  • 1-2 lbs trout fillets
  • blackening seasoning, enough to coat fillets
  • ½ cup butter, melted
  • 2 tbsp avocado oil

Creamy Shrimp Sauce

  • 1-2 lbs shrimp, peeled and deveined, medium or large
  • 8 strips thick-cut bacon, chopped
  • Cajun seasoning, enough to coat shrimp
  • ½ teaspoon cayenne pepper, optional
  • avocado oil, for sauteeing vegetables
  • 2 shallots, diced
  • 1 cup cherry tomatoes
  • 3 garlic cloves, minced
  • 6 stalks green onions, sliced
  • 1 tbsp Better Than Bouillon Chicken Base
  • 2 cups chicken broth
  • ½ cup heavy cream
  • 1 tbsp lemon juice
  • salt and pepper, to taste

Instructions
 

Cheese Polenta

  • In a saucepan, bring cream and chicken broth to a boil over medium-high heat. Add a pinch of salt if using reduced sodium broth. Reduce heat to low and whisk in cornmeal, stirring frequently.
  • Simmer on low for 15-20 minutes. You can always add more liquid if the polenta becomes too thick. Remove from heat and stir in cheeses until melted and smooth. Add salt and pepper to taste.

Blackened Trout

  • Before starting, make sure your kitchen is well-ventilated. It WILL get smoky.
  • Preheat a large, heavy skillet until extremely hot. In a shallow dish or mixing bowl add melted butter.
  • Dip each trout fillet into the butter and coat both sides.
  • Season fish with blackening seasoning pressing spices into the fillets.
  • Add a few tablespoons oil such as avocado oil or olive oil to the hot skillet. Once shimmering add seasoned fillets to the skillet. Cook 2-4 minutes on each side until charred (not burnt!). Set aside while we make the shrimp sauce.

Creamy Shrimp Sauce

  • Peel and devein shrimp. You can purchase the shrimp already cleaned but be sure to double check they are fully deveined.
  • Pat shrimp dry with a paper towel. Sprinkle shrimp with Cajun seasoning, salt, pepper and cayenne pepper. As a reminder, you may not need salt if you’re using store-bought Cajun seasoning. Check the ingredients! Let rest.
  • Make the Bacon: Heat a large skillet over medium-low heat. You can use the same pan you used for the trout but be sure to wipe out any charred bits first.
  • Chop bacon into 1/2 – 1″ pieces. Add to heated skillet and cook until the fat has rendered and the bacon is crisp. Remove bacon and let rest on a paper toweled line plate.
  • Make the Shrimp: Turn up the skillet you cooked the bacon in to medium heat. Leave that bacon grease in there! Add seasoned shrimp in a single layer to the pan. Cook until shrimp are just opaque, about 2-3 minutes per side. Remove shrimp and let rest on a plate.
  • Cook Veggies and Aromatics: Add avocado oil to the skillet if needed. Heat oil and add shallots and tomatoes. Cook until softened about 3-4 minutes. Add garlic, green onions and chicken bouillon and cook for another 30 seconds or until fragrant.
  • Deglaze the Pan: Add chicken broth to deglaze scraping off any bits at the bottom of the pan. Let come to a simmer. Lower heat to medium-low and then add the heavy cream. Let simmer for 4-5 minutes or until mixture is slightly reduced and thickened. We do not add any additional thickeners such as flour or corn starch in this recipe.
  • Add Shrimp and Bacon: Return the shrimp and bacon to the skillet and let heat through for a couple of minutes. Remove from heat, squeeze in lemon juice and stir until combined.
  • Add salt and pepper to taste.
  • Assemble the Dish: Whisk in a little cream or chicken broth the polenta if it has started to harden. Serve grits on bottom. Then top with blackened trout. Pour the creamy shrimp sauce over the fish and polenta. Garnish with green onions. Enjoy!
Keyword shrimp and polenta recipe
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Meet Dee

Meet Dee

I love to share recipes with real ingredients that are both sweet and savory (especially sweet:) My mission with Gimme From Scratch is to inspire you with recipes that will bring your families together in the kitchen. I'm introverted at heart but know how important socializing can be for maintaining good relationships, when writing not only am looking forward to sharing information - It's also building connections between readers who love good food as much as I do!

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