Crostini per Fiorenza – Crostini di polenta con cavolo nero, gamberi e salsina di peperoni (Canapés de polenta avec chou frisé, crevettes enroulées de pancetta et coulis de poivrons grillés)

My Friend’s Julia mom, Florence a delightful lady from Paris came for a visit to the Bay Area during the holidays. She is an attorney in Paris but cooking is her hobby when she has time to spend in the kitchen. She wanted to learn some new tricks and recipes she could use while having her large family and friends for dinner (she has six children and and seven siblings).

While in San Francisco, I took her shopping to Berkeley Bowl and then spent the rest of the day preparing a four course meal for the rest of the family who joined us for dinner. I promised that my next recipe would be just for her, I wanted to make something easy, that could be a perfect canape, or appetizer for her large gatherings. Et voilà, c’est fait! Florence je pense que vous apprecierez ces canapés faciles à faire, goutûs et avec une pointe d’originalité.

Florence had all the qualities to be an excellent cook, she is curious, has lots of energy and is an excellent listener, so maybe good attorneys are great cooks after all!

These crostini can also be served an appetizer with a small side of green salad, you can of course adapt their size to the occasion. For canapes use, make them a slightly bit smaller than if you would serve them as an appetizer.

For an easy process, use express polenta, the one that cooks fast.

Recipes for me are versatile and are just ideas, you don’t need to replicate them exactly. For example here if you prefer to use roasted red peppers, you could. I like to combine different textures, so that’s why I made a coulis, just to complement to grainy texture of the polenta, the leafy spinach and crunchy and sweet shrimp.

If you read French, La cuisine du marché avec Silvia is a little note written by Florence to describe her little cooking experience in San Francisco. Lovely isn’t it?

Ingredients for 12 canapés

  • 1 pint water (or 500 ml) salted water
  • 4.4 oz (or 125 g) pre cooked polenta
  • 12 shrimps, uncooked
  • 12 slices pancetta, thin sliced
  • 1 garlic clove, diced
  • 1/2 bunch kale, stems removed

For the roasted red pepper coulis

  • 1 large bell red pepper
  • 1 garlic clove
  • 1/4 tsp cumin
  • 1 tbs olive oil
  • cayenne pepper to taste
  • salt and pepper


For the polenta

Bring a pint of water with salt to a boil. Pour polenta gradually, and stir well for about 3 minutes until the polenta thickens. Remve from heat and spread over a flat food surface in about 1/2 inches (1 cm) thick circle. Smooth the surface with a spatula. Let it cool and refrigerate for about one hour until the polenta is hard. Using a round 2 inches (or 4 cm) cookie cutter, cut polenta disks. Sprinkle with olive oil and broil under broiler or grill until the top is golden brown.

For the kale

Remove stems from kale and cut in about 2 inches pieces. Heat olive oil in a pan, add garlic clove and stir, add kale and cook until it wilts, adjust with salt and pepper

For the shrimps

Wrap one pancetta slice around each shrimp. Saute in olive oil until both sides are golden brown.

For the coulis

Place pepper under broiler, and char broil until the skin darkens. Proceed the same way on all sides. Remove from oven, let cool. Peel and remove seeds. Cut in small pieces and mix in a blender with garlic, oil, cumin and cayenne pepper. Adjust with salt and pepper.

Place one kale leaf on top of polenta, then add shrimp and top it with pepper coulis. Serve hot or warm.