Tuesday, October 2, 2007

Midwestern Shrimp and Grits

Not too good a picture, and that's a shame. This is one of the best things posted on this blog so far. I got a little carried away laying out the shrimp when it probably would have looked much better with them just dumped on top of the grits or mixed in. It didn't affect the taste though, and I wouldn't change a thing as far as the the ingredients and methods go.

For Grits:
- Grits, 3/4 cup (Plenty of places to get quality organic stone ground grits in the area.)
- Milk, 2 cups (Same as parenthetical above. And I used 2%.)
- Half & Half, 1 cup (")
- Water, 1 cup
- Cheese curds, chopped pretty well (Can substitute a good cheddar.)
- Smoked trout, flaked
- Habanero type chile pepper, minced (Not optional. The milk and cheese tone down the heat.)
- Parsley, chopped
- Salt & pepper
For Shrimp:
- Thawed shrimp, peeled (Or now you can get never-been-frozen shrimp at Kate's Fish at the West Side Market.)
- Shallot, minced
- Old Bay seasoning
- Cayenne pepper
- Oil for high heat

For Grits:
- I pretty much started with this recipe, minus the butter, and then added some touches--Google: Chef Ryan Hermann and Simple and Sublime Grits (For a smaller portion, this linked recipe looks good: http://www.mikeandshelly.com/aboutgrits.html.). It seems like a lot of liquid for the grits, but it's not, it just requires some patience. If you're not into looking for the recipe I copied, here it is, with my additions . . .
- Add milk, half & half, and water to a saucepan and bring to a strong simmer
- Whisk grits in well
- Once it starts thickening up add some salt & pepper, lower heat, and whisk well from time to time being sure nothing is sticking to the bottom (It won't be a problem if the heat is low and you're whisking well.)
- After around half and hour, or when the grits are about as thick as you'd like them, add in chopped cheese curds and habanero and whisk well
- Once cheese is incorporated make sure you have a hot frying pan ready for the shrimp
- Add parsley and smoked trout to grits and whisk well, being careful not to totally destroy the texture of the trout
- Check for seasoning and adjust
- Turn off heat and make shrimp
For Shrimp:
- Add Old Bay and some cayenne to shrimp (Pat the shrimp dry with a paper towel prior to adding seasonings.)
- Oil a hot pan
- Add shallots and seasoned shrimp to the hot pan
- Cook shrimp on each side and turn off heat
- As best as you can, it doesn't have to be perfect, separate shrimp from shallots, adding the shallots to the grits and stirring the grits again
- Add shrimp to the grits (Mix together if you'd like)

This is really worth trying if it appeals to you at all. The smoked trout is a change from the more traditional bacon or sausage. It gives a great smoky flavor, and if you get a bite without a shrimp you don't feel like you missed out.

As for the grits, I had always thought grits were just like a loose polenta (Even after seeing My Cousin Vinny.). Making them with the milk (And I imagine that all 2% milk could have been substituted for the liquid mixture.) reminded me of the first time I had powdered hot cocoa made with hot milk instead of hot water. The difference is huge. While I in no way claim to have just described the authentic way of making grits, these were very good, and were way better than what is served around here.


holly_44109 said...

I love shrimp and grits...looks great!

The CFT said...

Thank you. I assure you it tasted better than it looked. Also, I've really been enjoying Craving Cleveland.