Shrimp and grits

My two amazing American friends (their previous contributions to The Swindian include garlic soup, Cullen skink and Destiny mashed potatoes) have told me about shrimp and grits a million times over the last couple of years, and this weekend, it was finally time to initiate me. Let’s just say that when I took my first spoonful, I exclaimed ‘WOW!!’ and shovelled the rest into my mouth, only stopping to breathe in and savour the sweet, delicious Louisana flavours.

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HEAVEN.

 

‘Nuff said.

Recipe is adapted from Anson Mills. We used peeled shrimp and substituted the shells for fish stock – still super tasty!

Serves 3

  • 300ml Anson Mills coarse grits – anything but instant or quick grits!
  • Salt for the grits (to taste)
  • Butter for the grits (roughly 60g)
  • 300g raw peeled shrimp
  • Olive oil
  • 3 Knorr fish stock pots
  • 1 small onion, finely diced
  • 1 small rib celery, finely diced
  • 2 large garlic cloves, quartered with the skin on
  • 4 cups water
  • 2 teaspoon tomato puree
  • 1 bay leaf
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • Skin of 1 lemon (simply use a peeler, it works really well)
  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 1 tablespoon all-purpose flour
  • 6 rashers of thick-cut bacon, finely diced
  • 2 medium shallots, finely chopped
  • Fine sea salt
  • Garnish: 1 spring onion, white and green part, very thinly sliced
  • Garnish: Tabasco sauce or Crystal hot sauce
  • Garnish: Freshly ground black pepper

Soak the grits overnight in a big bowl. Make sure the water covers the grits, leaving a bit more space on top. Then in the morning, cook them in a double boiler – heat water in a saucepan and place the bowl on top, letting them cook slowly in the steam for about 1.5 hours. Add more water to the grits if necessary, and once they’re done (they should still have some structure, but be tender and creamy nonetheless), add about 60g of butter and mix thoroughly.

Whilst the grits are cooking, prepare the shrimp. As we were using already peeled shrimp, we simply butterflied and de-veined them. Using a sharp knife, cut them open from the back, but not all the way through. This will plump them up nicely, as you can see below!

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Make the stock by putting the celery, onion and garlic, fish stock pots, water, bay leaf, tomato puree and lemon zest into a saucepan. Let simmer for about 45 minutes to an hour. Then strain it through a fine mesh strainer and keep aside in a bowl.

In a large, non-stick frying pan, fry the bacon and shallots until the bacon is crispy, usually around 10-15 minutes. Remove and keep aside. Lightly sear the shrimp in the same pan for about 1 minute per side and keep aside.

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In that same frying pan, mix up the butter and flour. When it starts bubbling, add the strained stock and let simmer until thickened.

Add the shrimp and bacon-shallot mixture back into the pan and let it heat back up to cook the shrimp through.

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Serve by making a bed of grits and spooning the shrimp on top. Garnish with black pepper, spring onion and some hot sauce.

Then sit back and let the flavours wash over you!

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If you have any grits left over the next day, you can simply fry them in sunflower oil and serve them with scrambled eggs and bacon… plus a breakfast cocktail.

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