Mediterranean Shrimp & Grits -an American-Southern twist with Roma

Culinary worlds collide: we are twisting an American-Southern comfort with Italian style nod to Roma, Italy.

Our Mediterranean inspired Shrimp & Grits infuses old world class and charm with new world southern comfort.  Some would say that true southern grits can only be prepared with lard, cream, butter and salt.  We ask…Where’s the flavor? (Do you remember the lil’old lady asking, Where’s the Beef?)

We hope you will indulge our twist of this traditional dish and give it a try.  It’s a no muss, no fuss take on blending fresh herbs, seasonings, corn meal and adding some favorite lightly sauté shellfish and learning to say mangiare!

Servings – 6 to 8

Serving size – 1 cup with 4 to 6 shrimp

Ingredients

Shrimp

  • 2 to 2.5 lbs of 20/25 shrimp (deveined and de- shelled completely)
  • 8 oz chicken stock
  • Seasoning for shrimp:
    • 1 tbsp extra virgin olive oil-EVOO,
    • 1 tbsp of Sicilian Lemon Balsamic Vinegar,
    • 1 tbsp granulated garlic,
    • 1 tbsp dried basil,
    • 1 tbsp dried oregano
  • 4 medium shallots diced
  • 5 cloves garlic minced
  • 1 stalk of green onion chopped fine
  • 5-6 tbsp of compound butter (see below for the recipe insert)

Grits

  • 2 to 2.5 cups of instant grits
  • 32 oz (8 cups) of chicken stock
  • 12 oz ricotta cheese
  • 5 cups shredded Monterey Jack cheese
  • 1 cup of Grated Parmesan cheese
  • 5 cups half and half
  • 3 tbsp unsalted butter
  • 3 tbsp. flour (all purpose)
  • 5 sticks (12 tbsp.) of compound butter (see insert recipe)
  • 4 medium shallots diced
  • 5 garlic cloves minced
  • 1 stalk of green onion chopped fine
  • 5-6 tbsp of compound butter (see below for the recipe insert)

Compound Butter

  • 2 sticks (16 tbsp.) unsalted butter
  • Seasoning per stick – (2 sticks of compound butter is made by this recipe): 1.5 tbsp. fresh stripped basil, 1 tbsp dried oregano, 0.5 tbsp. dried thyme, 1 tsp. papika, 1 tbsp. kosher salt, 1 tbsp. granulated garlic

Insight – prior to cooking prepare the two sticks of compound butter by following these

IMG_20180722_201334818
Our shallots, garlic, green onion and compound butter ready to be used

instructions…

  1. Soften one stick of unsalted butter in the microwave (about 15 seconds)
  2. To the butter add the listed seasoning
  3. Mix the seasoning and butter thoroughly
  4. Roll out either a sheet of parchment paper or plastic wrap onto a hard surface
  5. Scoop the seasoned butter onto the edge center of the parchment or plastic wrap and for the butter back into a stick or log of the similar visual size
  6. Fold the parchment or plastic wrap over the butter and roll the seal the parchment or plastic wrap, tuck the edges and place the freshly made compound butter in the freezer for 24 to 48 hours (if longer double wrap and place the butter in a Ziploc freezer bag for storage in the freezer).
  7. Repeat these steps for the other stick of butter

Directions

Roma Cheesy Grits

Insight – Make the cheese sauce first

  1. Melt 3 tbsp of unsalted butter into 3 tbsp all-purpose flour in a 3 quart stock pan of to create a rue, cook the flour for a few seconds to remove the raw feeling
  2. Add 2 cups of half-n-half and stir to blend in the rue.
  3. Heat the mixture over medium to medium-high heat till the cream begins to thicken
  4. Once thickened add the ricotta cheese, Monterey Jack and grated parmesan cheese, stir to combine
  5. Remove from the heat but keep it that sauce warm so it does not bind up completely
  6. In a 3 to 5 quart size pan melt (with ¼ cup EVOO) over medium heat 5 to 6 tbsp of the compound butter, stirring frequently to prevent the herbs in the butter from burning
  7. Over medium heat add the 4 medium diced shallots, 5 minced garlic cloves, 1 stalk of chopped green onion and sauté till the shallots are translucent (3 to 5 min)
  8. Add 32 oz of chicken stock and bring to a soft boil over medium high heat
  9. Add 2 to 2.5 cups of instant grits to the soft boil, stir periodically and lower the heat to low and simmer for covered for 3-5 minutes or until all the liquid is absorbed and the grits tighten
  10. Add the cheese sauce and mix thoroughly, ultimately the Cheesy Grits should have the consistency of oatmeal
  11. Keep warm till ready to serve with the Shrimp

Shrimp

Insight – cook the shrimp last to ensure succulent shrimp not dried shrimpIMG_20180722_213352888

  1. At least two hours ahead of cooking (preferably 24 hours), clean, de-shell and de-vein the shrimp and rinse them, place each in a Ziploc gallon bag
  2. Add shrimp seasoning: EVOO, Sicilian Lemon Balsamic vinegar, garlic, basil and oregano in with the shrimp, seal the bag and toss to coat the shrimp, place the bag in the refrigerator.
  3. Heat/melt over medium heat, 5 to 6 tbsp of the compound butter in a large sauté pan with cover (stir frequently to not burn the herbs being released by the butter
  4. Placed 4 diced shallots, 5 minced garlic cloves and 1 chopped green onion into the sauté pan to soften (4-5 minutes)
  5. Add shrimp and liquid, sauté (turning often) till the shrimp just begin to turn a pinkish translucence
  6. Just before done add 1 cup of the cheesy grits mix and 1 cup (8 oz) of Chicken stock
  7. Cook till the shrimp are completely pink and the sauce has tightened up (5 minutes)
  8. Cover and keep warm till you’re ready to serve on a bed of cheesy grits.

Platting Suggestions: Place a layer of the Cheesy Grits down on the serving dish; layer the top with 4 to 6 shrimp, sprinkle with freshly chopped parsley and grated parmesan cheese, top with a few basil leaves.

Serve with a seasonal vegetable, a light refreshing salad, and some warm Italian bread with a light balsamic/EVOO and fresh herb dipping sauce.