Shrimp and Old-Fashioned Creamy Grits
Chef Scott Peacock of Watershed – Decatur, GA
Adapted by
October 2007

Yield: 6 Servings

Chef Scott Peacock's Shrimp and Grits on Ingredients:

    Old-Fashioned Creamy Grits:
  • 2 cups water
  • 2 cups milk
  • 1 cup stone-ground grits
  • Kosher salt, to taste
  • ¼ cup heavy cream
  • 2 Tablespoons unsalted butter

    Shrimp Paste:
  • 1 cup unsalted butter
  • 1 pound fresh shrimp, peeled and deveined
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • ½ teaspoon freshly ground pepper
  • ¼ cup sherry
  • 2 tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice
  • ¼ teaspoon cayenne pepper

    To Assemble and Serve:
  • Bread, toasted and buttered
  • Chives, chopped

For the Old-Fashioned Creamy Grits:
Heat water and milk in a heavy-bottomed saucepan until just simmering. Meanwhile, put the grits in a large mixing bowl and cover with cool water. Stir the grits assertively so that the chaff floats to the top. Carefully skim the surface of the grits to remove the chaff. Drain the grits through a fine strainer then stir them into the simmering water and milk. Cook, stirring often, until the grits are tender and have thickened to the consistency of thick oatmeal. Regular grits are done in about 20 minutes, but stone-ground grits can take over an hour to cook completely. As grits thicken, it’s important to stir them more often to prevent sticking and scorching on the bottom of the pan. If the grits become too thick, stir in a little extra water and milk to thin. Season the grits generously with salt, and stir in the cream and butter. Remove from heat and let rest, covered, until time to serve.

For the Shrimp Paste:
Heat 6 tablespoons of the butter in a large skillet until it is hot and foaming. Add the shrimp, salt, and pepper, and cook over high heat, stirring often, for 4-7 minutes, until the shrimp are pink and just cooked through. Remove skillet from heat and, using a slotted spoon, transfer the cooked shrimp to the bowl of a food processor with the blade attachment, leaving the resulting cooking liquid in the pan. Return the skillet to the stove, and add the sherry, lemon juice, and cayenne pepper. Cook over high heat until the liquid in the skillet is reduced to approximately 3 Tablespoons and is quite syrupy. Immediately add this to the shrimp in the food processor, and puree until smooth. With the motor running, add the remaining butter in pieces and process until thoroughly blended. Turn the motor off and taste the paste for seasoning, adding more salt, pepper or lemon juice as needed. Transfer the shrimp paste to a ceramic crock and allow to cool completely. If not using right away, cover the shrimp paste and refrigerate for up to 1 week. 

To Assemble and Serve:
Combine grits and Shrimp Paste thoroughly, adding 1 part Shrimp Paste for every 2 parts grits. Place grits in a bowl and garnish with a handful of chopped chives. Place bowl on a plate and place buttered toast on the plate to the side of the bowl. Serve hot.


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