Tuesday, February 12, 2013

Fat Tuesday Dinner

Shrimp and Grits. Probably one of the most alluring combinations in the world. Not only did this Southern girl grow up on grits but I am so looking forward to our impending move to New Orleans to taste a new version of Southern food. Not only a new version of shrimp and grits, but to be introduced to the wonderful creole food culture.

I have never been to Louisiana and from what I have heard from my husband, it is just like the South with the volume turned up a little. The lingering smell of food, the beautiful architecture and the sultry sound of Jazz music. I am very excited.

To celebrate Fat Tuesday and our upcoming adventure to our new home town, I thought it was necessary to have a dinner fitting for a day like this. 

For those of us who take their grits seriously, I suggest using the coarse-ground variety for this quintessentially Southern dish.
1 tbsp. salt
2 cups coarse-ground grits
3 cups milk
4 slices bacon, cut crosswise into 1" pieces
1 lb. medium shrimp, peeled
1 small clove garlic, peeled and chopped
1⁄4 cup white wine or dry sherry
1⁄2 cup heavy cream
2 tbsp. minced fresh parsley leaves
1. For the grits: Bring 4 cups of salted water to a boil in the top pot of a double boiler set over high heat. Meanwhile, fill the bottom pot of the double boiler about halfway with water and bring to a boil over high heat, then reduce heat to medium. Gradually pour grits into the salted water, stirring constantly with a wooden spoon to prevent lumps, then fit pot onto the bottom pot of the double boiler. As the grits absorb the liquid and thicken, about 2 minutes, add 2 cups of the milk and cook, stirring frequently, until grits are tender and creamy, about 45 minutes. (Thin with some of the remaining milk if grits become too thick.) Cover pot and reduce heat to low while preparing shrimp.
2. For the shrimp: Fry bacon in a medium skillet over medium heat until browned and crisp, then transfer with a slotted spoon to paper towels to drain. Discard all but a thin film of bacon drippings from skillet.
3. Increase heat to medium-high and add shrimp, garlic, and three-quarters of the bacon to same skillet; sauté, stirring often, until shrimp are just pink, about 3 minutes. Add wine, scrape any brown bits stuck to bottom of skillet with a wooden spoon, and cook until alcohol has evaporated and reduced slightly, about 2 minutes. Add cream and cook, stirring constantly, until sauce has thickened, about 2 minutes more. Divide grits among four bowls, then spoon shrimp and sauce over grits.

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