Tuesday, January 17, 2017

Black and a Little Bit Blue Shrimp & Grits

Last year, when we spent a week in the Florida Keys, it rained every single day.  What a disappointment! When we were deciding whether or not to take another chance on going for a week this January - I really had doubts. We decided to go for it and I am so glad because it has turned out to be absolutely gorgeous. The turquoise water is breathtaking and who doesn't love palm trees? One of the best things in southern Florida is the fresh seafood. We found a market the "locals" go to and I've enjoyed cooking up the fruits of the sea. The recipe posted here is a spin off traditional Shrimp & Grits. Whether the shrimp is grilled or baked in the oven, it's a yummy comfort food whatever the weather.

Ingredients for Four Servings

1 pound of 21-25 count raw shrimp
3/4 cup grits (not instant)
3 1/4 cups chicken broth
2 cups shredded cheddar cheese
2 tablespoons butter
1/4 cup Parmesan cheese
1/4 cup crumbled blue cheese, divided
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
1/4 cup sliced green onion (for garnish)
4 slices bacon (for garnish)
3 tablespoons blackening spice  - store bought or recipe below

The Hot Stuff - Blackening Spice Recipe

Ingredients for Blackening Seasoning - yields 1/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons

2 Tablespoons smoked paprika
2 1/2 teaspoons kosher salt
1 1/2 teaspoon roasted garlic (I used Penzeys brand)
1/2 to 1 teaspoon cayenne pepper (according to taste)
1/2 teaspoon black pepper
1/2 teaspoon thyme
1/2 teaspoon oregano

Stir together until well combined. Store in a covered container.

Directions for Black and a Little Bit Blue Shrimp & Grits

Turn on and prepare grill or preheat oven to 425 degrees. Rinse the shrimp and drain. Pull off their little legs, take off the shells, and run the point of a sharp knife down their backs to de-vein them if desired. Put three tablespoons of blackening seasoning in a saucer and dredge the shrimp through it to coat both sides. Place shrimp on heavy duty aluminum foil with sides crimped up (to keep juices from going all over) and drizzle with olive oil. Either grill shrimp on foil over high heat 5 minutes per side, or bake in a preheated 425 degree oven for 10 minutes. Shrimp should be pink on the outside and opaque white on the inside when done. 

While the shrimp is cooking make the grits and cook the bacon.

To crisp the bacon, I place several layers above and below the bacon and microwave it on high power for about 5 minutes. Every microwave is different however, so if this method vs. frying is used, please check on it during the cooking process. After the bacon is crispy, cut it into crumbles.

To cook the grits, place the broth in a pan and bring it to a boil. Stir in the grits and turn the heat down to low. Cook for 10 minutes stirring often. Grits should be thick. Add the butter, pepper, garlic powder, cheddar, Parmesan, and 2 tablespoons blue cheese. Stir well until the cheeses melt and all the ingredients are well combined. At this point, the grits will be less thick and more fluid.

Place the grits on one big serving platter or four individual plates. Arrange shrimp on top of the grits and sprinkle with the remaining 2 tablespoons blue cheese, bacon crumbles, and sliced green onions.