Thursday, July 23, 2009

Summer Shrimp

Shrimp and grits is distinctly Southern. It is a dish of lowcountry origins, associated with the Carolinas, but has spread far and wide across the Southeast. In the past couple of months, I have experimented with several S&G recipes, all completely different. I experimented with pancetta and proscuitto, two common Italian ingredients, and arrived at bacon, specifically, Conecuh bacon.* Proscuitto didn't deliver the smoky flavor I wanted, and pancetta simply wasn't as good as bacon. I tried yellow grits but preferred the white. White grits keep the integrity of the dish, rather than transform it into shrimp & polenta.

*Conecuh bacon (named after the Alabama County in which it's produced) is by far the best bacon I've ever tasted. It is perfectly marbled with fat, and crisps up beautifully.

Best Shrimp and Grits
Serves 6

4 cups chicken stock
3/4 cup heavy cream
3/4 stick butter
1 garlic clove, minced
1 cup grits
1/2 cup sharp cheddar cheese
3 ounces goat cheese, crumbled (optional)

1/2 stick butter
1 onion, finely chopped
1 large garlic clove, minced
2 pounds uncooked large shrimp, peeled, deveined
1/2 cup dry white wine
1 14-ounce can diced tomatoes in juice
6 slices of uncooked bacon, chopped
1 yellow pepper, chopped
1/4 cup chopped fresh basil
1/2 cup green onions, chopped (green and white parts)

Bring chicken stock, whipping cream, butter and garlic to boil in heavy large saucepan. Gradually whisk in grits. Return to boil, whisking constantly. Reduce heat to low. Simmer uncovered until grits thicken, whisking often, about 15 minutes.

Meanwhile, melt 1/4 cup butter in heavy large skillet over medium-high heat. Add onions and garlic and sauté until tender, about 4 minutes. Add yellow pepper and bacon and saute until bacon is fully cooked and browned. Add drained diced tomatoes. Add shrimp and white wine to skillet and saute until shrimp are just cooked, pink and curled. Season to taste with salt and pepper.

To simmering grits, add cheddar and optional goat cheese. Stir until cheese is melted. Spoon grits into shallow bowls. Top each serving with shrimp mixture, dividing equally. Garnish with basil and green onions and serve immediately.

1 comment:

Elizabeth said...

This looks delish! Aaron loves S&G so I should probably learn to make it! Thanks for testing out all the different bacon options already, must have been tough ;)