When I saw this recipe for Shrimp and Grits that Paula had served at her wedding, it jumped out at me because I'd just heard about our friends, Doug and Janet's, recent southern vacation where Doug said he'd eaten shrimp and grits for the first time and loved it. I'd heard of it but never tasted the dish so when I saw this recipe I decided to go for it.
In The Lady & Sons Savannah Country Cookbook, Paula says that they served shrimp and grits at her and Michael's wedding, in martini glasses. I had the martini glass but I chose the margarita glass for the shape. Part of the fun of serving this would be to see how whack creative you could go. The photos are nice. In person, serving this in a glass makes you smile and want to dig in from the novelty and then keep shoveling it in once you taste it.
There's only one word for this: Yum! Seriously yum. Gene said it reminded him of Carbonara, only jacked up. I'd agree with that. It's rich and creamy but the grits add a scream of distinctive taste to the dish that pasta only carries along placidly.
Shrimp and Grits
Paula Deen from The Lady & Sons Savanna Country Cookbook
2 cups water
3/4 tsp salt
1 cup uncooked grits
2 tablespoons olive oil
1/2 cup diced tasso ham*
2 tablespoons diced leeks
2 tablespoons diced onion
2 tablespoons diced green peppers
20 medium to large shrimp, peeled and de-veined, with tails on
1 to 2 tablespoons white wine
1 cup heavy cream
Salt and pepper
Green onion tops, chopped
Bring water and salt to a boil in medium saucepan. Add grits and stir constantly for 1 minute. Cover and cook, stirring occasionally, until grits are thick and creamy.
*Cook's Note: Tasso is a Cajun ham and is often hard to find outside of Louisiana, but you can find it at some specialty gourmet shops or by mail order. If not, you can substitute salt pork, pancetta, or prosciutto, but you will have to beef up your seasonings, as tasso is very flavorful.
Heat oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add tasso and saute until crisp. Add diced vegetables and saute until onions are translucent. Add shrimp and saute for 30 to 45 seconds, or until pink. Remove from the pan and set aside. Deglaze the pan with a little white wine. Slowly add the cream and let reduce until thickened. Season with salt and pepper, to taste.
Divide grits among 4 serving plates. Line plate edges with shrimp. Pour sauce over grits. Garnish with green onion tops.