Gulf oil, local shrimp and grits

May 27, 2010 at 8:27 pm Leave a comment

Whenever I think about what’s happening to the Gulf with the oil spill, I start wondering about the future of shrimp. And whenever I think of shrimp, I can’t help recalling the late great chef Bill Neal, who branded our unique seasonal southern cuisine with  his now famous “shrimp and grits,” long before any of us ever knew what slow food and locavore meant.  At least we still have NC shrimp, Bill’s classic recipe, and his successor Bill Smith at Crook’s Corner to do it up right. Here’s the original recipe in honor of my favorite Chef Bills for persuading me that grits are really great after all, with the right recipe:

Crook’s Corner Shrimp and Grits (4 servings)

1 cup grits

4 cups water or milk

1 cup cheddar cheese

1/4 cup Parmesan cheese

1/2 teasp. salt

1/8 teasp. white pepper

pinch of cayenne pepper

1/4 teasp. Tabasco sauce

6 slices bacon

peanut oil

1 lb. fresh shrimp, peeled, deveined and rinsed

2 cups white button mushrooms, sliced

1 cup scallions, minced

1 large clove garlic, minced

4 teasp. lemon juice

2 Tablespsoons fresh parsley

Cook grits according to package instructions in milk or water. Turn off heat. Add cheddar cheese, Parmesan cheese, butter, salt, white pepper, cayenne pepper and Tabasco. Stir until mixed. Set aside and keep warm.

Dice bacon and saute lightly until edges are brown but bacon is not crisp. Remove, drain, set aside.

Add peanut oil to skilled to make a layer about 1/4 inch thick. Pat shrimp dry, add shrimp to hot oil in even layer. Turn as they color. Add mushrooms and saute for about 4 minutes. Add scallions and garlic. heat, stir for 1 minute more. Season with lemon juice, dash of tabasco, salt and pepper to taste and parsley.

Divide grits over four plates. Spoon shrimp on top, sprinkle with bacon, serve immediately.

— Reprinted in the News and Observer from Remembering Bill Neal: Favorite Recipes from a Life in Cooking by Moreton Neal.

*By the way, if you want a regular supply of seafood fresh from the NC coast, you might consider joining the first Community Supported Fishery (CSF) in the Carrboro-Chapel Hill area. It’s called Core Sound Seafood, offering weekly and bi-weekly shares of seafood from Carteret County, delivered to a convenient local location starting in mid-June.

The idea is to connect Down East fishermen to a local, viable market. They have pledged to donate a dollar for every pound of seafood sold to a special assistance fund to help commercial fishing families in times of need. A limited number of shares are still available.

–Dee Reid

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Entry filed under: Chefs, Locavore recipes, Recipes, Sustainable Food, Whole Food/ Locavore Eateries. Tags: , , , , .

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