Shrimp and Grits
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Shrimp and Grits
If this Shrimp and Grits recipe were to be translated into music, it would be a gorgeous major chord played in a way that you could hear each note clearly as it vibrates and harmonizes perfectly with the other notes in the ensemble. Once you have tasted this warm bowl of Southern comfort, you’ll have its song stuck in your head for many years to come.
For the Shrimp
- 1.5 lbs shrimp, peeled
- 1 red onion, large dice
- 2 bell peppers, large dice
- 10 slices of bacon, cut into 1″ pieces
- 6 oz baby spinach
- 8 shiitake mushrooms, medium dice
- The juice of half of a lime
- 2 tsp cumin
- 2 tsp cajun or blackened seasoning
- Tons of shredded cheese, mix of cheddar and pepper jack is great
- 1.5 cup grits
- 6 cups water or chicken stock
- 1 tsp garlic powder
- 1 chipotle pepper and 1 tbsp of adobo sauce
- 1 head of garlic, roasted
- 1 cup of mayonnaise
- 1 tsp cumin
For the Grits
For the Aioli
1. Preheat your oven to 400 degrees. Trim off the very bottom of the head of garlic. Tear off a square of tin foil and drizzle a little bit of olive oil in the center. Place the cut side of the garlic onto the oil and move around to ensure even coverage. Drizzle a little more oil over the top of the head and then wrap tightly in the foil. Roast in the oven for 35 minutes and then set aside to cool. While the garlic is roasting, take that time to cut the onions, peppers, mushrooms and bacon and shred the cheese. Once the garlic is out, reduce the oven to 350 to be used later.
2. In a blender or food processor, combine the roasted garlic, mayonnaise, 1 tsp of cumin, and one chipotle pepper from a small 7oz can of “chipotle peppers in adobo sauce” plus one tablespoon of the adobe sauce. Pulse until smooth and creamy. Add salt and pepper to taste.
3. In a large sauce pan, bring 6 cups of water or chicken stock to a boil. Whisk in the grits and season with salt, pepper and garlic powder. Cover and simmer for approximately ten minutes until the grits have thickened. Make sure that you whisk the grits every minute or two to keep it from clumping and burning. You can add butter or shredded cheese if you’d like to the grits, but I’ll leave that up to your personal preference as there will be plenty of cheese used later. Turn off the heat and leave covered on the stove while you cook the shrimp and vegetables.
4. In a large skillet over medium heat, crisp up the bacon pieces and render down the fat, turning occasionally to brown evenly. Using a slotted spoon, transfer the cooked bacon to a paper-towel lined plate and set aside.
5. In the same skillet with the rendered bacon fat, turn heat up to medium high, and quickly sauté the shrimp. Cook the shrimp for approximately one minute per side and season with salt and pepper. Set the shrimp aside on a plate.
6. Pour off any remaining fat from the skillet and add some olive oil. Let the pan recover over medium heat for a minute and then add the onions, peppers and mushrooms to the pan. Sauté for approximately five minutes, until mostly cooked-through and browned slightly, and then add the spinach. Stir the spinach fairly frequently to cook evenly and reduce in size. Once the spinach has wilted, add the bacon and shrimp back to the skillet. Season with cumin, cajun seasoning and lime juice and stir to combine. Allow the shrimp to reheat slightly for about 30 seconds and then turn off the heat.
7. Place four oven-safe, wide bowls onto a baking sheet and divide the grits evenly amongst the bowls. Next, spoon the shrimp mixture over the grits, placing equal portions into each bowl. Finish by topping each dish with shredded cheese and place the baking sheet into the oven for approximately five minutes, or until the cheese has completely melted.
8. Allow the bowls to cool slightly and then drizzle the roasted garlic and chipotle aioli over the top. Serve with base plates or hot pads / oven mitts under the bowls to protect your guests and dining room table.