This is one of the most satisfying shrimp dishes. You needn't cook the shrimp long; make them in batches and be sure to keep a close eye on them so they don't overcook.
FOR THE GRITS:
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1 cup white stone- ground organic grits
- 2 tablespoons butter
- 1⁄2 cup mascarpone cheese
FOR THE SHRIMP
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 36 jumbo Louisiana or other wild American shrimp, peeled
- Basic Creole Spices (recipe below)
- 1⁄3 cup sliced andouille sausage
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- 1 shallot, minced
- 2 piquillo peppers (roasted red Spanish peppers in a jar)
- 1 tablespoon chopped fresh thyme leaves
- 2 cups Basic Shrimp Stock (recipe below)
- 2 tablespoons butter
- 1 teaspoon fresh lemon juice
- 2 cups canned diced tomatoes
- 1 tablespoon chopped fresh chives
- 1⁄2 cup fresh chervil sprigs
1. For the grits, bring 4 cups water with the salt to a boil in a medium saucepan over high heat. Slowly stir in the grits, then reduce the heat to low; stir constantly to make sure the grits don't stick to the bottom. Simmer until all the water has been absorbed, about 20 minutes. Stir in the butter and mascarpone. Remove the grits from the heat and place a piece of plastic wrap on the surface to keep a crust from forming.
2. For the shrimp, heat the olive oil in a large skillet over moderate heat. Season the shrimp with Creole Spices and salt and sauté them in batches until they begin to brown but are not yet cooked all the way through; set aside.
3. In the same skillet, sauté the andouille, garlic, shallot, peppers, and thyme until they become aromatic, about 5 minutes. Add the Shrimp Stock and bring to a simmer. Stir in the butter and reduce the sauce until it's nice and thick, 3–5 minutes.
4. Return the shrimp to the skillet and cook for an additional 5 minutes. Add the lemon juice, tomatoes, and chives.
5. Spoon a heaping 1⁄4 cup of grits into the center of each of 6 large bowls. Arrange 6 shrimp in each bowl, spoon sauce around them, and garnish with chervil.
Using the following spice blend is truly the easiest way to consistently achieve the flavors I grew up with. Once made, the spices will last for six months in an airtight container.
BASIC CREOLE SPICES
Makes ½ cup
- 2 tablespoons celery salt
- 1 tablespoon sweet paprika
- 1 tablespoon coarse sea salt
- 1 tablespoon freshly ground black pepper
- 1 tablespoon garlic powder
- 1 tablespoon onion powder
- 2 teaspoons cayenne pepper
- ½ teaspoon ground allspice
Mix together the celery salt, paprika, salt, pepper, garlic powder, onion powder, cayenne, and allspice in a bowl. Transfer the spices to a clean container with a tight-fitting lid, cover, and store.
BASIC SHRIMP STOCK
Makes 6 cups
- ¼ cup canola oil
- 1 onion, coarsely chopped
- 1 stalk celery, coarsely chopped
- 1 carrot, coarsely chopped
- 1 leek, white part, coarsely chopped
- 4 cloves garlic, crushed
- 1 pound shrimp shells
- 1 bay leaf
- 1 sprig fresh thyme
- 1 teaspoon black peppercorns
1. Heat the canola oil in a large pot over moderate heat. Cook the onion, celery, carrot, leek, and garlic, stirring often, until they are soft but not brown, about 3 minutes.
2. Add the shrimp shells, bay leaf, thyme, peppercorns, and 3 quarts of water. Increase the heat to high and bring to a boil. Immediately reduce the heat to low and gently simmer, skimming any foam that rises to the surface, until the stock has reduced by half, about 2 hours.
3. Strain through a fine sieve into a container with a cover. Allow the stock to cool, cover and refrigerate, then skim off the fat. Freeze the stock in small batches to use later.
John Besh is an award-winning chef who owns 11 restaurants, has written four books, and regularly cooks at home for family and friends.
This recipe originally appeared in the 2015 December/January issue of Miescisko.