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Sunday, August 31, 2014

Shrimp and Grits, with a Cali twist

For some reason, I got to a place where grits were on my mind. Growing up in California, and in a Japanese-American community, grits were never on my mind, and to be honest, the first few times I tried them, they did not make any sense. Along the way, that changed, cheesy grits, and then shrimp & grits suddenly became a dish I could really enjoy. Herein, is my riff on that classic.

For starters, I marinaded the shrimp for 4 hours, the recipe was really just to get some seasoning on the shrimp for the grill.

Shrimp Marinade:
3 tablespoons Sudachi juice
2 tablespoon whiskey
1 tablespoon Kosher salt
1 tablespoon black pepper
pinch of sugar

I just mixed it all up with 1/3 pound of shrimp. Later these would be skewered for cooking on the Konro. A word on that, what most folks call a Hibachi, is actually a device called a Konro, in it's original form, it is a ceramic cooker with metal grating. Skewers are either laid on the grate or directly over the charcoal. In one form or another, these exist all over Asia.

The Veggie Players

Back to the meal, I decided I wanted to have a complete meal, and that meant vegetables. I found some great Red Chard, so that was the play, a quick riff on what could really have been Collards. The red bell pepper just looked great and I needed some of it for my gravy. So, some onions, Chard and red bell pepper went for a ride in the wok. At the end, I adjusted with a pinch of salt, a teaspoon of white pepper and a splash of vinegar, I would guess about 1/2 cup. Want to keep it southern here.

Meat on sticks

I also planned to make a roux, to support the gravy with the shrimp, that is what the finely diced onions, red bells, chard stems and some celery were going to go in to. But first, prepared the grits, kept them a little watery as they would tighten up while I did other things, had the Konro fired up, using basic hardwood lump. Once the grits were on stand-by, it was off to the grill. I skewered up the shrimp, some wild caught stuff I found, along with some chicken jalapeno sausage from Roundman's Sausage in Fort Bragg. Then it was all seasoned with a dose of Ted and Barney's H3 butchers rub. This is a spicy version of their salt and pepper rub. I find it adds a very nice piquant heat, I can imagine it doing very well in their home market of Humboldt County.

On the fire

A little color

Once this was done, I built the roux, a basic affair of oil and flour cooked until a dark brick color was achieved, I didn't take it to the full gumbo stage, I wanted the lighter brown color and to retain some of the nuttiness of the toasted flour. Add in the veggies, then the meat, and then on top of the grits, which I reheated and seasoned up with some butter, white pepper and a touch of Kosher salt.


Decided to forgo the parsley, didn't get that done. Plated the grits, then the chard and red bell peppers and finally the shrimp and sausage. The final touch...


A few shavings of Parmesan cheese to round out the flavor and give it just a bit of that cheese aroma. I know that taking an Old South favorite and playing with it is not everyone's cup of tea, but, these grits are outstanding, hitting all kinds of flavors, while definitely hitting all of the traditional flavors as well.

1 comment:

  1. Dang you, Bob. Now you have me wanting to go start up a bunch of stone ground cheese grits and it's almost 10 o'clock here. Love shrimp and grits and your spin on this sounds really good.