Deconstructed Shrimp & Grits ~ One small bite at a time.
I’m not sure where to begin with this one. I was fumbling around the kitchen one Saturday afternoon, clearly making no headway on dinner. An ensuing melt-down in the making (doesn’t happen often but apparently there are precursors). To head it off, I was given a challenge. “Forget dinner. You have one hour to create an appetizer, something you’ve never made before. Then we’ll decide about dinner.”
Two hours later :) I presented Deconstructed Shrimp & Grits.
Not that it takes two hours to prepare this dish, but it took two hours to develop the plan and execute. I’ve seen other bloggers refer to themselves as ‘recipe developers,’ I’m beginning to understand what that means.
When I presented crispy panko crusted shrimp, individual ‘heart shaped’ cheddar grit cakes, each topped with a spoonful of slightly spicy and very flavorful sauce, he gave me the look. The one that says, I’m not exactly sure how these dishes come together but I’m glad they do.
I don’t recall if we even had dinner that night, but I do remember that Deconstructed Shrimp & Grits, were thoroughly enjoyed one small bite at a time.
- 1 cup yellow corn grits (Polenta – not instant)
- 4 cups water
- 1 tsp. salt
- 2 Tbl. butter
- 1 Tbl. olive oil
- ½ cup sharp cheddar cheese, grated
- 4 slices bacon
- 1 Tbl. reserved bacon fat
- 2 shallot, fine diced
- 2 garlic cloves, minced
- ½ cup white wine
- 1 cup chicken broth
- 3-4 Tbl. Frank’s hot sauce, to taste
- 1 Tbl. fresh lemon juice
- 2 scallions, thinly sliced
- 2 Tbl. fresh parsley, minced
- Salt & freshly cracked pepper
- 24 medium shrimp (about ½ lb.), peeled and deveined
- ½ cup flour
- ¼ tsp. cayenne pepper
- ¼ tsp. salt
- ¼ tsp. black pepper
- 1 egg, beaten
- 1 ½ cups panko breadcrumbs
- Canola oil for frying
- In a medium sauce pan bring 4 cups of salted water to a boil. Slowly stir in grits, reduce heat to low and allow to simmer, stirring frequently for 20 minutes or until grits are tender. Remove from heat and stir in butter. Season with salt & pepper to taste.
- Oil a 9"x9" or 11"x7" pan. Pour in cooked grits and allow to cool at least 15 minutes (prepare sauce at this time). Turn grits out onto a flat surface. Use a small cookie cutter to cut 24 individual grit cakes. Arrange on a shallow baking sheet coated with cooking spray. Sprinkle tops of each cake with grated cheese. Reserve. Just before serving, place cakes under the broiler to melt the cheese.
- Cook bacon in a skillet until crispy. Remove and drain, reserving 1 Tbl. bacon fat. Saute shallot over medium-low heat until soft, add in garlic saute another minute. Add wine, allow to simmer 3-4 minutes then add chicken broth, lemon juice, and scallions. Allow mixture to gently simmer for 10 - 15 minutes, until reduced by at least half. Stir in crumbled crispy bacon. Reserve.
- Arrange 3 dishes for coating the shrimp. Combine flour with seasoning in a medium covered bowl or zipper bag. Beat egg in second dish. Place panko crumbs in third dish. Line shallow baking sheet with parchment paper. Pat shrimp dry, then toss in seasoned flour. Individually dip each shrimp in egg, then into crumbs, then place on baking sheet.
- To fry the shrimp, add enough canola oil to a deep pan and heat to 375 degrees. Fry shrimp in small batches until golden brown. Drain on a brown bag.
- For each serving plate a cheddar grit cake, topped with a spoonful of warm sauce, and a crispy fried shrimp. Sprinkle with fresh parsley.
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