Annually, we treat ourselves to Southern shrimp and grits over Easter weekend. This year, I served the special dish using purple “unicorn” grits from Millers All Day in Charleston, South Carolina. Festive!
This version was topped with a spicy and garlicky roasted poblano-jalapeño sauce which had a terrific balance with the rich, cheesy grits. The shrimp was also cooked in garlic oil. It was a great variation to try for the garlic and sauce lovers in my house. 🙂 The recipe was adapted from Food and Wine, contributed by Marc Meyer. I modified the method and proportions.
Yield: Serves 4
- 4 cups water
- 1/2 cup whole milk
- coarse salt
- 1 cup stone-ground white grits (I used stone-ground unicorn grits)
- 2 ounces extra-sharp white cheddar cheese, shredded (1/2 cup)
- 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
- 1 jalapeño chile
- 1 poblano chile
- 5 large garlic cloves, thickly sliced
- 5 T extra-virgin olive oil
- 2 T freshly squeezed orange juice (from 1/2 an orange)
- freshly ground black pepper
- 1 pound shelled and deveined large shrimp, patted dry (I used 21-25 count per pound)
- Place oven rack in the highest position and set to broil. Place the jalapeño and poblano chiles on a foil-lined rimmed baking sheet. Broil until blackened all over, about 3 minutes per side.
- Remove from the oven and wrap in the foil. Allow to steam and cool for 10 minutes, then rub off the skins. Stem and seed the chiles.
- In a large saucepan, bring the water to a boil with a pinch of salt. (I used an enameled cast iron pot.)
- Whisk in the grits and cook over moderate heat, stirring often, until the grits are tender and very thick, about 15 minutes.
- Stir in the milk, cheese, and butter. Season with coarse salt and freshly ground black pepper. (I used about 1/2 tsp salt.) Cook for an additional 5 minutes, then keep warm.
- In a small skillet, cook the garlic in the olive oil over moderate heat, stirring, until the garlic is softened and very lightly browned, about 3 to 5 minutes.
- Using a slotted spoon, transfer the garlic to a blender. Add the chiles and the orange juice and puree until smooth. Add all but 2 tablespoons of the garlic oil and puree until creamy. Season the sauce with salt and pepper. (I used a Vitamix.)
- Pat the shrimp dry and toss with the remaining 2 tablespoons of garlic oil. Season with coarse salt and freshly ground black pepper.
- Heat a very large skillet until very hot, about 2 minutes.
- Add the shrimp in a single layer and cook until browned and just cooked through, about 45 seconds to 1 minute per side.
- To serve, spoon the grits into bowls and top with sauce and shrimp. Serve additional sauce at the table.