On dit que ca vient de Nice – Soupe de crevettes et polenta

I wish I could take the credit for this amazing soup, but unfortunately I cannot. I did change proportions of some ingredients but that’s the extent of my contribution to the recipe. One day going through my thick Mediterranean cookbook, my attention got caught by this interesting and colorful soup. The creator being Daniel Ettlinger, a famous French chef, originally from Alsace (as his name sounds very Alsatian), but settled down in Nice most probably for its smoother climate. He also worked in Milan so, Italy has contributed to his culinary influences. Winters are rough in Alsace-Lorraine and most people are attracted to move to the Southern part of France just to enjoy the Mediterranean climate.

Of course, polenta is definitely an Italian ingredient, most regions of Northern Italy consume it on a regular basis, but many dishes from Nice do use it too. Nice being not too far from the Italian border, many similarities are found in the local cuisines of the towns close to the border.

I never really used polenta in a soup, and I was a little curious about the texture of the soup. I thought the polenta would absorb the liquid and turn it into a thick texture. It did, but you just have to add broth or water, and adjust the consistency.

I loved this soup and will make it again. In the original recipe, Daniel Ettlinger added fried onion rings. He cut onions very thinly, toss them in flour and deep fried them, they were added at the end on top of the soup, but I decided to leave them out.

You can use paprika, piment d’espelette or hot chili. Since I just ran out of piment d’espelette, I used paprika. Paprika is definitely an essential ingredient and should not be left out.

Ingredients for 4

  • 3 scallions, chopped
  • 3 garlic cloves, crushed
  • 1 small yellow onion, chopped roughly
  • 3 tbs olive oil
  • 1/4 cup (or 50 g) medium grind polenta
  • 2 cups vegetable stock
  • 20 shrimps, peeled and deveined
  • 1 pinch paprika
  • piment d’espelette
  • salt and pepper


Heat olive oil in a pot, add onion and saute until golden brown. Add polenta and stir for about 5 minutes until the polenta has browned. Add vegetable stock and simmer for about 15-20 minutes. If by the end of cooking time, the soup gets too thick, add more broth.

Heat the remaining olive oil in a skillt, and saute shrimps until cooked on both sides. Add garlic and scallions. Add paprika and/or piment d’espelette.

Arrange shrimps in a bowl, and pour polenta-broth mixture on top. Add a drop of olive oil.