I’m just about half way through my 6 week cuisine across cultures class at Le Cordon Bleu and other than our protein class, this one is my favorite! We have been learning so much about other cultures and have made a variety of interesting dishes such a Caribbean tamales, sushi, risotto, jambalaya and today we made shrimp and grits.
For the longest time I didn’t enjoy grits because the texture seemed too mealy but over time I have come to appreciate the light grain, especially if it’s paired with cheese, you feel me?
I also loved making this dish because it’s one of my mom’s favorites and I can’t wait to make it for her with fresh gulf shrimp from our bay house.
Start by making some homemade shrimp stock with the shells. I love how stock made from scratch tastes, the boxed stuff just doesn’t compare.
I started to love this dish when I was in school at Ole Miss. One of the best restaurants on the square is City Grocery, where Chef John Currance makes a beautifully rich version. You can’t go wrong having grits in Mississippi, you just can’t.
Cooking the shrimp in the sauce is perfect to add an extra hit of flavor.
Stock: 1/2 pound shrimp shells (about 16-20,) 2 tsp vegetable oil, 2 tbsp diced onion, 1 tbsp diced celery, 1 tsp tomato paste, 2 cups of water, salt to taste
Grits: 1/2 cup grits, 2 cups water, 1 cup sharp cheddar cheese, 2 tbsp butter, S&P to taste
Shrimp and sauce: 2 strips bacon- sliced, 2 cloves garlic- minced, 1/2 tsp jalapeño- seeded and diced, 2 tbsp flour, 1 cup of shrimp stock. Garnish with 4 scallions- diced, 2 tbsp diced tomato, and parsley.
Stock- Clean and devein your shrimp. Add oil to a sauce pot and bring to almost smoking. Add onion and and celery and cook until translucent. Clear a spot in the bottom of the pan and add tomato paste and incorporate. Add shrimp shells and cook until they turn red. Add water, bring to a simmer and reduce until 1 cup is left, strain and reserve.
Grits- toast your grits in a small skillet, just until barely smoking. Add grits to pot of boiling water, bring to a slow simmer for about 30 minutes. When done add butter and cheese and mix.
Shrimp and sauce- Cook bacon lardons over medium heat until fat is rendered. Add garlic and jalapeño and cook until soft. Add flour and cook until flour begins to color. Add shrimp stock and whisk until smooth. Bring just to a boil, then reduce to a simmer. Add shrimp to the pan and cook until done. Finish with scallions, parsley and tomatoes.
Plate grits and shrimp with sauce on top.
If you’ve ever been hesitant to make shrimp and grits at home, give this recipe a try.