Friday Shrimp & Grits

“Feasting is also closely related to memory. We eat certain things in a particular way in order to remember who we are. Why else would you eat grits in Madison, New Jersey?”  
Jeff SmithShrimp and Grits

We started out with gumbo night, but as it often happens dinner plans chang so grits it is…I love the Anson Mills Antebellum yellow grits, Anson Mills wonderful people to deal with and so many choices in grains etc, link to an interesting read about Anson Mills below.

I haven’t always been a fan of grits, but thanks to the antebellum version I have changed and to quote from the AM site: 

“With particles of corn ranging in size from 1/6 to 1/26 of an inch, Anson Mills coarse grits are produced from field ripened Carolina Gourdseed White or John Haulk Yellow dent mill corns, each prized historically for exceptional flavor and texture—and each, until recently, nearly extinct. Stove time: 50 to 90 minutes depending on method.”  I made the grits in the slow cooker and the shrimp only takes a couple of minutes, so sit back and enjoy a bit of time relaxing while your grits get themselves done, you need only to add a bit more water or broth and the final touches of butter and cheese.  A few things that I like add sautéed rainbow peppers and a bit of garlic to the grits.  Finish with 2 tablespoons butter and I love a tablespoon or 2 of mascarpone cheese for a change.

A little trick for the mellow garlic flavor for my grits is to make a small jar of garlic oil (refrigerate for several uses) and reserve the garlic for whatever dish you are making that night.  Just don’t burn the garlic, cook just enough to soften and a tinge of golden color…for about 1 cup of oil I tossed in 6 or so fat cloves of garlic, just peeled and smashed.  

Season your shrimp as you wish, good suggestion Cajun or Creole seasonings  for a little spicy touch, heat about 3 tablespoons garlic EVOO and briefly sauté shrimp, about 1 1/2-2 1/2 minutes until pink.  Top your plated grits with shrimp and enjoy.

From Anson Mills

“But the simplest, and ultimately, the best way to cook grits is to let your slow cooker deal with them. A first-rate caregiver, the slow cooker offers gentle, moist, and well-insulated heat, and using one precludes the need to soak the grits before cooking. The slow cooker comes up to temperature so slowly that the grits effectively soak in the process—and then “bloom” or swell in the steady, even heat. Slow cookers also eliminate the need for additions of hot water normally required to maintain grits hydration in saucepan cookery. In fact, you barely need to stir them!

Time: In a slow cooker with no overnight soak, two hours and 10 to 15 minutes; in a saucepan with an overnight soak, 50 minutes; in a saucepan with no soak, 90 minutes.
Created in the tradition of the stone-ground, hand-milled grits of the Antebellum era, Anson Mills coarse grits have a large particle size that imparts a toothsome texture and pronounced corn flavor. Coarse grits do take time to cook—about an hour, at least—but are any cook’s first choice when served as a stand-alone dish or as a complement to entrées such as fish, greens, or eggs. They make beautiful grits cakes, too.”

http://ansonmills.com/biographies

1 cup (6 ounces) Anson Mills Antebellum Coarse Grits (white or yellow)
Spring or filtered water
Fine sea salt
2 to 3 tablespoons unsalted butter
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

Directions

1. For a slow cooker: Place the grits in the slow cooker and cover them with 3 cups water. Stir once. Allow the grits to settle a full minute, tilt the vessel, and skim off and discard the chaff and hulls with a fine tea strainer. Cover the slow cooker and turn the heat setting to high. Cook, stirring once or twice, until the grits are creamy and tender, but not mushy, throughout and hold their shape on a spoon, about two hours and ten or 15 minutes. (Cook times in slow cookers may vary slightly depending on the capacity of the individual cooker and its heat settings.) Season with 1 teaspoon salt and stir in the butter with vigorous strokes. Add more salt, if desired, and the black pepper.
2. For saucepan cookery: Place the grits in a medium heavy-bottomed saucepan and cover them with 2 ½ cups water. Stir once. Allow the grits to settle a full minute, tilt the pan, and skim off and discard the chaff and hulls with a fine tea strainer. Cover and let stand overnight at room temperature. Note: If you have not soaked the grits, cover them with 2 1/2 cups water, and skim off and discard the chaff and hulls as directed above.
3. Set the saucepan over medium heat and bring to a simmer, stirring constantly with a wooden spoon, until the first starch takes hold, 5 to 8 minutes. Reduce the heat to the lowest possible setting and cover. Meanwhile, heat 2 cups water in a small saucepan and keep hot. Cook the grits, covered, over low heat, stirring every 10 minutes or so, and adding small amounts of the hot water to the grits when they become thick and the spoon can stand upright, about 1 1/2 cups water or more in 4 or 5 additions. Cook until the grits are creamy and tender, but not mushy, throughout and hold their shape on a spoon, about 50 or 90 minutes, depending on whether or not they were soaked. Add 1 teaspoon salt halfway through the cooking time. To finish, uncover the pot and stir in the butter with vigorous strokes. Add more salt, if desired, and the black pepper.

Serves 4 to 6 as a side dish.

http://ansonmills.com/biographies