Shrimp and Grits, Ric Orlando's way

Shrimp and Grits, Ric's Way

Shrimp and grits is a super popular dish made in a myriad of ways all over the south Atlantic and gulf coast regions of America. Why? Duh, shrimp are plentiful and grits are a southern tradition. They are made for each other. 
So who makes the best? Hmm. South Carolina style is pretty damned good, as is Alabama style...but I lean to New Orleans when I want a great assertive dish, so here is my Creole style shrimp and grits. Rich, nicely spiced, comforting, healthy and oh yea, DELISH!
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Comfort food 101 - Shrimp and Grits!

The two most important things to consider when making Shrimp and Grits are the obvious- The SHRIMP and the GRITS.
THE SHRIMP:
In my book, NEVER buy prepeeled Asian shrimp for this. Always try to get American shrimp and if not, get Mexican Gulf shrimp. They are truly wild (as opposed to being raised in cesspools in Asia), they are more "Shrimpy" because of their wild diet in saltwater and you will be contributing to a great American product!
Yo can get Louisiana shrimp online and most decent food stores that sell fish can get them for you, even if they do not stock them. You may have to get 5 pounds at at time, but simply break them out into batches and freeze them until you want to eat them.
Frozen shrimp are A-OK in most recipes.
THE GRITS: Those instant white crumbs at the supermarket are likely GMO and flavorless. I use local grits-- Don Lewis' Wild Hive from ClintonCorners NY which are available online and at better shops in the Hudson Valley and Capital region. You can also get artisinal grits from the south on line. Do it, you'll thank me.

In my recipe we add lots of shrimp flavor by using the shrimp shells to make shrimp butter to begin our saute in. That recipe is below.  

Shrimp and Grits, RIc's Way
Serves 4
The GRITS
1 cup artisinal grits
4 cups water
2 ts salt
1 tsp black pepper ( or to taste)
2 tbls butter
dash f tabasco or other vinegar based hot sauce
1 cup shredded cheese (optional)
In a heavy pot bring the water to a boil. Season with salt and pepper and slowly add the grits stirring constantly.
Continue stirring at high heat for a minute and then reduce ghhat to meium low and cok, stirring occasionally for about 20 minutes, or until the grits are thickened and creamy.
Set aside and keep warm. 

THE SAUCE
4 tbls "shrimp butter" recipe below
1/4 each diced bell pepper, Spanish onion, celery and scallion
1 tbls Cajun/Creole seasoning
pinch of salt
2 oz anise flavored liqueur like Pernod, Sambuca or Absinthe
3 cup tomato puree
1/2 cup chicken or shrimp stock 
1/2 cup chopped parsley
generous pinch dry or fresh thyme
1/2 cup cream
1/2 cup corn ( optional)

In a heavy pan saute the veggies in the shrimp butter until translucent.
Sprinkle with the Cajun seasoning and salt and stir it in.
Off the heat, pour n the liqueur and stir.
Put back on the flame and be ready for it to flame up for a few seconds
When it is done flaming, add the stock tomatoes, worcestershire, tabasco and herbs. Cook for 5 minutes then swirl in the cream. If you are adding corn, add it now. Cook over medium heat for a few minutes until the sauce is fully emulsified and slightly thickened.
Ain't nothin like the real thing, baby!

THE SHRIMP and SHRIMP BUTTER
16-20 large or "colossal" shrimp ( 16-20 per pound size)
1/3 cup neutral oil (I like grapeseed and sunflower because it is non GMO)
1/2 stick unsalted butter (1/4 cup)
Peel and devein the shrimp, reserving the peels
In a small pot add the oil and the shrimp shells including the heads if you have them. Slowly bring up to medium heat until the start sizzling. Cook at medium heat until the shell begin to get golden browned the shellfish aroma wafts through your kitchen. Remove from the heat and add the butter, stirring it in until it melts. Allow to sit for 15 minutes, then strain.You can reserve this butter in your fridge for up to 3 weeks.

THE DISH
In a heavy pan, add enough shrimp butter to coat the pan. Bring to medium heat.
When the shrimp butter is hot, carefully lay the shrimp in the pan, not overlapping. Sprinkle with Cajun seasoning to taste.
When the shrimp are golden on on side, turn them over and ladle in about 4 oz sauce per person. Swirl the pan and the let sauce come to a simmer. Allow the shrimp simmer in the sauce until cooked through, about two-three minutes.
Spoon grits into each bowl and pour the shrimp and sauce over the grits. Garnish with scallions and parsley and serve hot sauce on the side.



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