Sunday, February 22, 2009

Shrimp and grits

I based this recipe on Martha's "Shrimp and Tomatoes over Soft Polenta," but as one astute commenter on her site posted, "this is known as "Shrimp and Grits" down here in the Carolinas."

Even though I'm not from anywhere near the the Carolinas, I do make a distinction between polenta and grits* (polenta – cheese; grits – no cheese) hence my rechristening of this recipe as "Shrimp and Grits."

Today's recipe is also an unintentional nod to this year's best picture nominee The Curious Case of Benjamin Button. Or, I am I getting that movie confused with Forest Gump? Hmm...

Here's my version of the recipe:



1 1/2 pounds frozen medium shrimp, thawed, peeled, and deveined (tails removed)
Coarse salt and ground pepper
2 tablespoons olive oil
2 cloves garlic, minced
1/4 teaspoon red-pepper flakes
1 can (14 oz) whole cherry tomatoes, in juice
1 recipe Grits†


Season shrimp generously with salt and pepper. In a large skillet over medium-high, heat 1 tablespoon oil. Add shrimp; cook until opaque throughout, turning occasionally, 2 to 3 min. Transfer to a bowl; set aside.

Reduce heat to medium. Add remaining tablespoon oil to pan; cook garlic and red-pepper flakes until fragrant, about 1 min. Add tomatoes and their juice along with 1 cup water; bring to a boil. Reduce heat; simmer, stirring occasionally, until tomatoes have broken down and become saucy, about 15 min.

Meanwhile, make grits. Just before serving, stir reserved shrimp into tomatoes. Divide grits into bowls and spoon shrimp and tomatoes over grits.



Coarse salt and ground pepper
3/4 cup yellow cornmeal or grits
3 tablespoons butter


In a large saucepan over high heat, bring 4 cups water with 1 1/2 teaspoons salt and 1/8 teaspoon pepper to a boil. Very gradually, add cornmeal in a thin stream, whisking constantly until smooth. Reduce heat to medium-low; simmer, whisking often, until thickened, 8 to 10 minutes. Remove from heat; stir in butter until smooth.

*If you are familar with Denny's grits, know that those are not true grits. (And, they taste like moist sawdust.)
†Double the recipe if you want to use the grits for tomorrow's dinner of Broiled polenta with mushroom ragout.

In preparation for tomorrow's meal, press the reserved grits into a greased 8x8-inch pan, or a standard-sized loaf pan. Cover and refrigerate.

Be sure to drop by tomorrow.




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