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Tag: grits

Yet ANOTHER Shrimp and Grits Recipe!

by on Oct.29, 2017, under Recipes and Food

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If you want to start an argument about southern seafood, just mention “shrimp and grits”. Yes, while there are differing points of view on hushpuppies (sweet or savory; with or without onions; with guava jelly or not) and coatings for fried fish (flour or corn meal), none seem to be more argued about than the “proper” way of preparing and presenting shrimp and grits.

I’m set in my ways, and until recently and I’ve prepared my shrimp and grits per the recipe in my 2013 Sportsman’s Kitchen column, but without the cheese. Personally, I’ve always thought the concept of cheese grits was brought south by carpetbaggers who didn’t appreciate grits, white or yellow, in their natural state. But that’s neither here nor there. The bottom line is that I’m always willing to expand my horizons and try a different version of a recipe.

Here’s a new and more aromatic twist on an old standard. The addition of small tomatoes and a cubanelle pepper make it an attractive and tasty offering at your next seafood dinner.

And yes, I like it with the cheese!

 

Shrimp and Grits 2.0

 

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1-1/2 pounds, medium shrimp, peeled and deveined (Peel them yourself and reserve the shells)

1- bay leaf

1-tsp. dry tarragon

1-clove garlic, crushed

1-cup white grits

8-oz. grated extra sharp cheddar cheese

Hot sauce (Tabasco or Cholula)

1/2-stick unsalted butter

1-medium cubanelle pepper, seeded and chopped

1-large shallot, minced

1/4-pound cherry or grape tomatoes, halved

2-scallions, thinly sliced

2-strips crisp bacon, chopped

 

First, make a shrimp stock by bringing the reserved shrimp shells, the garlic, bay leaf, tarragon and two cups of water to a boil, then reducing heat to a simmer for about 20 minutes. Strain out the solids and boil the remaining liquid, reducing it to about a half-cup. Set aside.

In a saucepan, bring 4 cups of salted water to a boil, then reduce to a simmer. Add the grits slowly, stirring until well mixed. Simmer, covered, for about 20 minutes. When done, add the cheese and mix thoroughly. Add salt, ground black pepper and hot sauce, to taste.

While the grits are cooking, sauté the shrimp in the butter, taking care not to overcook. Set aside.

Over medium heat, cook the shallot, scallions and cubanelle pepper in the shrimp stock until soft.

To serve, spoon the grits into individual bowls and top with the shrimp and the vegetable mix. Garnish with the chopped bacon.

(Serves 4)

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Shrimp ‘n Grits–To Cheese or Not To Cheese?

by on Dec.27, 2013, under Recipes and Food

To Cheese…or Not To Cheese?

In his or her kitchen repertory, any southern cook should have the successful preparation of grits.  Not fancy grits, but just plain grits.  Many don’t, and I suspect that’s due to the fact that they can’t boil pasta or cook rice either.  All are simple chores, and the success of many a meal depends on mastery of those subjects.   Essentially hominy (corn kernels processed using an alkaline solution like lye), grits come in several variations.  At most groceries, you’ll find all sorts—coarse and fine-ground, yellow and white–even “instant”.  “Real” grits need to cook slowly for about 20 minutes and I avoid “instant” grits at all costs.

In many parts of the American South, grits are considered breakfast food.  In fact, northerners often confuse grits with cream of wheat and apply sugar and milk. More likely you’ll find them an accompaniment to eggs, bacon and sausage in our southern states, but in Florida, much to the initial surprise of my Eastern North Carolina-native wife, we eat grits with fish and seafood.

In recent years, shrimp and grits has become a standard menu item in many establishments and homes.  The dish is simple to cook and a hearty main course on a cold winter night.  And it can be varied with regards to whether or not to include cheese or the type of meat to include.  Cheese can add richness to the grits, but some chefs feel it overpowers the taste of the shrimp.  Others go to great trouble to include elaborate combinations of cheddar, Parmesan and even cream cheese.  The choice is yours, but I’ll stick with simplicity and use extra-sharp cheddar—if I use cheese at all.   As for meat, “salty” is the key.  It’s hard to beat store-bought bacon, but you can easily substitute Cajun-style tasso or Italian pancetta to give your version of shrimp and grits a regional or continental touch.

Shrimp and grits can easily become a standard main dish at your dinner table, taking simple ingredients to new heights.   Serve with a salad or slaw and a buttered biscuit and you’ll find that, along with compliments about the meal, guests and family will be asking for a repeat performance.

Basic Shrimp  and Grits

6 cups water

1 tbs. salt

1/2 tbs. freshly-ground black pepper

1-1/2 cups yellow grits

1/2-stick butter

2 cups shredded extra-sharp cheddar cheese (optional)

2 pounds shrimp, peeled and deveined, lightly dusted with flour

1-pound bacon

1/2 cup chopped parsley

1 cup thinly sliced scallions

4 garlic cloves, finely minced

In a large saucepan, bring the salted water to a boil.  Then, add grits and pepper and stir for about 30 seconds.  Turn down heat to a simmer and cook until the water is absorbed.  If the grits are too thick, add some more water (or milk) and continue to cook, about 20 minutes.  Remove from heat; stir in butter and cheese.

Fry bacon in a skillet until crispy; drain and crumble.  In the reserved grease, sauté shrimp until pink, just a minute or two, and remove to a holding plate.  Don’t overcook your shrimp! Then, add parsley, garlic and scallions to the hot bacon grease and cook over medium heat for about 3 minutes, or until the scallions are transparent.

Spoon grits into a serving bowl.  Stir in all the other ingredients, serve immediately– and enjoy.

Serves 4 to 6

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