Tuesday, April 08, 2008

good but not good for you: shrimp & grits

I don't get why people eat this for breakfast, it just seems so much more like a dinner. But I guess it includes two ingredients often associated with breakfast. Grits:

and Bacon:

This was delicious, hearty, very flavorful, and I loved it, but I will say that if I made it again, I could do without the added creaminess in the grits. With the level of richness in the shrimp and bacon part of the dish, I found the creamy grits a little overwhelming. I could feel my arteries clogging. I imagine someone in South Carolina would have a real problem with me saying this, but I think some simple, unadorned grits would be perfect with the shrimp. Okay, maybe a pat of butter would be nice...Recipe after the jump:

1 pound medium raw shrimp, peeled and deveined, peels reserved
1 cup heavy cream*
1 1/2 cups shrimp stock* (see recipe below), or chicken stock
2 cups water
1 cup stone ground grits
juice of 1 lemon
2 tbsp fresh thyme leaves
6 slices bacon
1 small onion, diced
1 small green pepper, diced
1 garlic clove, minced

*If using quick-cooking grits, reduce cream to 1/2 cup, and shrimp stock to 1 cup. Quick-cooking grits will cook in 5 to 7 minutes.

To prepare grits: In a medium saucepan, combine heavy cream, shrimp stock, and water and bring just to a boil. Slowly add the grits, stirring continuously to avoid sticking to the bottom. Season with salt and pepper, lower the heat to low, and stir occasionally. Simmer for 20 minutes or until grits are thickened and tender. Set aside.

In a medium bowl, squeeze lemon juice, salt, pepper, and thyme over the shrimp and toss to coat. In a large saute pan, fry the bacon until browned but not overly crisp. Remove bacon to paper towels to drain, then chop when cooled. Drain out excess bacon grease from pan, leaving about 2 tbsp. Saute the onion, pepper, and garlic in the bacon grease until onion is translucent, about 7 minutes. Add shrimp with lemon juice and chopped bacon and saute until shrimp are cooked through, about 5-7 minutes depending on the size of your shrimp. Serve the shrimp over the grits, topped with additional fresh thyme leaves.

To make shrimp stock:
Rinse the shrimp shells and tails well, then place in a medium stockpot. Add enough cold water to just cover the shells. Add any aromatic vegetables, such as celery, onion, and carrot, to the water. Bring to a boil, then lower to a simmer for 1 hour. Strain out the solids.

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