Top Chef Wednesday: Polenta with Eggplant Bacon Wrapped Shrimp & Port Wine Fig Sauce

Polenta with Eggplant Bacon Wrapped Shrimp & Port Wine Fig Sauce

Modified from Grayson Schmitz



  • 1 cup polenta
  • 1 umeboshi plum
  • 1 shallot, chopped
  • 3 1/2 cups non-dairy  milk
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon black pepper
  • 3 tablespoons vegan margarine

Port Wine Fig Sauce:

  • 1 teaspoon vegan margarine
  • 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:

  • 1.2 recipe of eggplant bacon
  • package of frozen vegan shrimp, thawed
  • 1 tablespoon thyme, picked
  • Salt and pepper, to taste
  • Oil, as needed


  • Frisee greens (for example arugula)



1. Caramelize the shallots. Add the non-dairy milk, umeboshi plum, 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 margarine.

Port Wine Fig Sauce:

1. In a medium saucepan, heat the margarine 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 (that means it coats the back of a spoon). 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:

1. Prepare eggplant bacon.

2. Lay out a strip of eggplant bacon and sprinkle thyme on each strip. Wrap the shrimp, thyme on the inside.  Repeat. Then, in a large sauté pan over medium high heat, using a bit of oil, sauté the bacon wrapped shrimp until hot.  Season to taste.


1. Place a handful of arugula on plate and add polenta on top, then place the shrimp on top of it in an interlocking position. Drizzle the sauce and place the figs.


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