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Southwestern-style Shrimp & Grits Recipe

Introduction:

When a representative from the Louisiana Seafood Promotion & Marketing Board contacted me this spring to see if I’d be interested in receiving a one pound shipment of select jumbo white Louisiana shrimp, I leapt at the opportunity!  What an amazing thing, to be given something as wonderful as U-10 shrimp, and the only thing expected in return is to create a recipe for these little gems.  I felt like I was really the one winning here. And I did!

The Back Story:

Before I get into the recipe, let me tell you a little about these lovely little shrimp and where they come from.  My shipment came from Anna Marie Seafood out of Montegut, Louisiana.  Anna Marie Seafood utilizes high-tech equipment and processes to ensure that only the freshest shrimp reach the consumer’s table. The shrimp are fresh-frozen on the boat out in the Gulf so that the taste and texture are basically locked in time – exactly how they were out in the open water.

I’ve grown up eating fresh seafood from the Gulf my entire life.  Technological advances have made processing, storing and shipping our greatest natural resources (our fresh seafood) as easy as it’s ever been.   People like Captain Lance Nacio of Anna Marie Seafood recognize the importance of investing in the technology and tools that bring the best possible product to our local and regional restaurants and home cooks alike.  Using time-honored traditions coupled with modern technology ensures that our local seafood industry lives on and works to diminish the threat posed by imported, lower quality shrimp and other seafood.

The Task at Hand:

Coming up with a new shrimp recipe is always a challenge I welcome.  I really wanted to grill these shrimp but since I don’t have a grill, I decided to make something that still put the shrimp front and center.  When you’re using something as lovely as U10 white shrimp, you MUST feature them prominently!  Lately I have been in the mood for lots of Southwestern/Mexican flavors.  This time of year, I seem to want those most.  Shrimp and grits are a local New Orleans favorite so I figured I’d just do a Southwestern version – voilà!  That easy.  The best part is not only did I have the biggest, most plump shrimp ever, but I also had stone ground grits from the Hollygrove Market & Farm.  I was so very ready to create something amazing.

This dish calls for four separate recipes that all come together in the end to create one wonderful dish.  The four recipes are for the grits, the shrimp marinade, cooking the shrimp and the green onion cilantro garnish sauce.  If you’re using stone ground grits (which I highly recommend you do), you’ll want to start those before you do anything else.  These grits take about an hour to cook so while those are on the stove, you can prepare the other three recipes.

Special Note:

Before you start, please read through this entire recipe to make sure you have all of these items on hand.  I am listing these things in the order in which you cook them but you will have to be present in the kitchen to tend to the grits so if you’re not the best at multi-tasking, you may want to measure out most of these things ahead of time and just combine and prepare the separate components as you go.  Do what you feel comfortable doing.

Also, before you start, you MUST peel and devein your shrimp.  That is absolutely something that needs to be done prior to starting the grits.  You won’t have enough time to process the shrimp and get everything else done by the time the grits are done.

Southwestern Shrimp and Grits

Fresh Louisiana shrimp at its finest!

Yield: 4 servings

Southwestern-style Shrimp and Grits Recipe

A robust, flavorful Southwestern-style shrimp and grits recipe. Features creamy stone ground grits, cilantro, lime, chipotle and jumbo shrimp.

Ingredients:

Stone Ground Grits:

  • 4 cups water
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 2 tablespoons salted butter
  • 1 cup coarse stone ground grits
  • 1 cup whole milk
  • 1-8 ounce block pepper jack cheese, grated

Shrimp Marinade:

  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1/2 teaspoon chipotle chili powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon onion powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon brown sugar
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 2 tablespoons light olive oil
  • 1 lime, zest and juice
  • 2 pounds jumbo shrimp (preferably U10)

Green Onion Cilantro Sauce:

  • 2 limes, zest and juice
  • 1 cup sliced green onion (white and green parts – any ratio)
  • 1/4 cup cilantro, roughly chopped
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1 tablespoon light olive oil

Sautéed Shrimp:

  • 2 tablespoons light olive oil
  • 1/2 cup thinly sliced green onion bottoms (the white part)
  • 2 tablespoons finely chopped canned chipotle in adobo (remove seeds and stem)
  • 2 pounds of marinated shrimp
  • 2 tablespoons sliced green onions, for garnish

Method:

Stone Ground Grits:

  1. Bring water, salt, and butter to a boil in a pot (with a lid), then add grits while stirring constantly.
  2. Reduce heat and cook at a low simmer, covered, stirring frequently, until water is absorbed and grits are thickened, about 15 minutes.
  3. Stir in 1/2 cup milk and simmer, partially covered, stirring occasionally to keep grits from sticking to bottom of pan, 10 minutes.
  4. Stir in remaining 1/2 cup milk and simmer, partially covered, stirring occasionally, until liquid is absorbed and grits are thick and tender, about 35 minutes more.
  5. Once done, turn of heat and stir in the cheese.  Cover until ready to use.

After you’ve started the grits, now it’s time to marinate the shrimp.

Shrimp Marinade:

  1. Combine all the ingredients for the marinade for the shrimp in a mixing bowl.
  2. Stir well and add the shrimp, gently stirring to coat.
  3. Place bowl in the refrigerator until ready to cook the shrimp.  They will marinate about an hour.

Green Onion Cilantro Sauce:

  1. Combine all of the ingredients above in a food processor.
  2. Pulse lightly until it’s a chunky sauce.
  3. Store in the refrigerator until ready to use.
  4. Tip:  If you have an immersion blender, feel free to use it (that’s what I did).

Note:  When the grits are about 10 minutes away from being done, you can start cooking the shrimp.  Please make sure to have the onions and chipotle below chopped up before you start this step.

Sautéed Shrimp:

  1. Heat the olive oil in a skillet over medium high heat.
  2. Add the onions and chipotle and cook for 2-3 minutes until the onions are softened and the chipotle is fragrant.
  3. Add the shrimp and cook about 1 minute per side, trying to only flip once.
  4. Turn off the heat, cover the skillet and let the shrimp sit a moment until you are ready to plate up your dish.

Final Step – Assembling the Dish:

  1. It’s best to use large pasta bowls if you have them. Regular bowls work fine if not.
  2. Start by ladling grits on the bottom of the bowl – if you’re using pasta bowls, you can use about 1 1/2 cups of grits.
  3. Divvy up the shrimp next and also divide the pan sauce between the four bowls.
  4. Garnish each bowl liberally with green onion and cilantro sauce and a few sliced green onions.
  5. ENJOY!!

Stone ground grits adapted from Epicurious.com.

Prep:25 min

Cook:1 hour

Total:1 hour 25 min

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