Filson Food: Shrimp & Grits

“This ranks as one of the most versatile dishes I have cooked in recent memory. It is just as delicious served for breakfast as it is served for a late-night snack or anytime in between. Shrimp & Grits are a deeply rooted dish down south, and, although this version deviates slightly from the traditional, it is very approachable and you could find the ingredients almost anywhere. Fresh spot prawns from the Pacific Northwest were used for this recipe, but any good quality shrimp will work. If you can’t find fresh shrimp, then opt for head removed, shell on deveined shrimp. Crystal is a hot sauce from Louisiana and fits perfectly with this dish, but any hot sauce you can find will work.”

– Connor Gabbott, Backcountry Chef

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Ingredients

Grits:

1 cup cornmeal grits
4½ cups water
1 cup smoked applewood cheddar
¼ cup butter
1 tsp salt

Shrimp:

1 Tbsp vegetable oil
3 strips bacon, ½” sliced (the thicker the better)
20 shrimp
3 green onion, ½” sliced
3 cloves garlic
1 jalapeño, sliced into very thin rounds
Crystal hot sauce
2 Tbsp butter
4 eggs
Salt
Freshly cracked black pepper

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Preparation

Shrimp & Eggs:

1. Add the oil to a hot pan and cook the bacon until it is just starting to crisp on the edges.
2. Remove the bacon and the bacon grease from the pan and reserve separately.
3. Add 1 Tbsp of bacon grease back to the pan and sauté the shrimp for 1 minute.
4. Add the garlic and green onion and continue to sauté until the shrimp are cooked.
5. Add the bacon back to the pan and season with salt to taste.
6. Meanwhile, in a separate pan, melt the butter over medium-low heat.
7. Add the eggs to the pan, season with salt, and cook to your liking. Sunnyside up is recommended, as the runny yolk is magic when it mixes with the grits.

Grits:

1. Bring water to the boil in a large pot.
2. Once boiling, slowly whisk the grits into the water.
3. Simmer the grits gently for 15 minutes and then turn off the heat. Add water as needed to keep the grits loose.
4. Let the grits sit for 30 minutes. This step isn’t completely necessary, but it will help to ensure that all the corn has been hydrated.
5. Turn the heat back on to low and bring the grits back to a simmer. The grits will likely have stiffened up, so add water as necessary to keep the consistency similar to a very loose porridge.
6. Once simmering, mix in the cheddar and butter and season with salt.
7. If needed, adjust the consistency again and serve. The grits will tighten up very quickly once served, so it is better to serve them on the looser side.

To serve:

1. Spoon the grits into a warm bowl and transfer some of the shrimp on to one side of the grits.
2. Place one egg next to the shrimp.
3. Scatter a few jalapeño rings over the top of the dish and finish with a sprinkle of hot sauce.