This was the first time in my entire life I’ve made and/or eaten shrimp and grits. It will, however, not be the last.
This newly formed food crush all started when Jonny took his annual trip to Dallas to meet with a few agencies and show off his books… and more importantly, spend a long weekend consuming a LOT of food with his best friend from college.
I’m a tiny bit jealous of this annual jaunt. Maybe it’s because he texts me pictures of whatever it is he happens to be eating at the time, with brief descriptors like “holy shit, this is good”, while I’m sitting at home watching old episodes of Arrested Development, wolfing down cereal after the kids go to sleep.
Usually he opts for the old BBQ places he frequented ‘back in the day’, but he threw me for a loop this time. The teaser image that stood out from the crowd was a dark, pixelated picture of a giant plate of cajun shrimp and cheesy grits. Dark and pixelated, yet still mouth watering.
So I did a little recon and, low and behold, it seemed like a pretty simple dish to prepare. It very quickly jumped to the top of my scratch-pad list of food conquests.
I opted to use milk and mascarpone in the grits, rather than what I was seeing as a standard water and cheddar combination. The result was an amazingly rich, creamy compliment to the subtle spice of the shrimp sauce.
Technically I’m not sure this is how the dish is meant to taste, but I wolfed down a full plate of it before even telling the Hubs that dinner was ready. That’s gotta count for something, right?
Shrimp and Mascarpone Creamed Grits
(makes 4 servings)
2 cups water
2 cups whole milk
1/2 tsp salt
3/4 cup stone-ground grits (not instant)
3 tbsp unsalted butter
1/2 cup mascarpone cheese
1 lb shrimp, peeled and deveined (tail on)
1 cup andouille sausage (cubed)
1/2 of a medium sized green pepper (diced)
1 garlic clove (minced)
3 scallions (thinly sliced)
1/4 tsp cayenne pepper
1/2 tsp smoked paprika
4 tsp lemon juice
1 cup chicken broth
Fresh parsley (chopped)
To make the grits, bring the water, milk and salt just to a boil in a large saucepan over medium heat. Add the grits and stir to combine completely. Reduce the heat to low, cover and cook for another 30 minutes. Remove from the heat, add in the mascarpone and butter and stir to melt and combine.
While the grits are cooking, rinse and pat the shrimp dry with a paper towel. In a large sauté pan over medium-high heat, brown the andouille then transfer it to a plate. Reduce the heat to medium, and add the shrimp to the pan with the sausage drippings, and cook until they turn slightly pink and they start to ‘kiss their own butts’ (heh heh, come on. that’s good.) Add the sausage back in to the mix, along with the peppers, scallions, and garlic. Sprinkle with the cayenne and paprika, then toss to evenly coat. Pour in the chicken stock and lemon juice and stir to deglaze the pan a bit, reduce the heat to medium-low and simmer for 3 minutes.
To serve, spoon a giant pile of grits on the plate, top with the shrimp mix (spoon a bit of extra juice over the top) and sprinkle with chopped fresh parsley.
Without him, this would never have been possible.