GET THIS STUFF
1.5 cups Anson Mills Antebellum Coarse Grits
1 good-sized Parmigiano Reggiano rind
7 cups of shrimp stock (steps for homemade listed below, but can substitute store bought seafood stock)
1 bay beaf
3/4 cup + 2 T EVOO
20 medium-sized wild shrimp, with heads and shells still on
2-3 pinches of crushed red pepper (depends on how spicy you like it!)
1 t fine sea salt
1 T + 1 t fresh chopped thyme
4 medium cloves of garlic, peeled and diced
¼ cup Italian parsley, finely chopped
Maldon Sea Salt Flakes, for finishing
Fresh cracked black pepper
PREP ONE DAY AHEAD
Step 1: Shrimp Stock
Wash the shrimp and pat dry. Store in the refrigerator on ice to use the following day.
Put 1 T of EVOO in a large stock pot over medium-high heat. Once oil is hot, add all the shrimp shells and sautée until they turn pink and opaque. Add approximately 11-12 cups of water (you usually want to start with 1.5 – 2 times the desired final amount of liquid) and one bay leaf. Bring to a boil and then turn down to a simmer, leaving the pot uncovered, until liquid is reduced by about 1/3 and stock has concentrated flavor. Let cool.
Step 2: Grits
I like to use Anson Mills Antebellum Coarse Grits because they are hand-milled and delicious. If you choose to source the Anson Mills grits, you can follow the recipe below. If you choose a different brand of grits, follow the instructions on the package.
Place grits in a medium heavy-bottomed saucepan (preferably a Windsor saucepan) and cover with 3 1/4 cups shrimp stock. Stir once. Allow grits to settle for one full minute. Tilt the pan, and skim off and discard the chaff and hulls using a fine tea strainer. Cover and let grits soak overnight at room temperature.
Step 3: Grits
Place grits and stock mixture over medium heat and bring to a simmer, stirring constantly with a wooden spoon, until the first starch takes hold (5 – 8 minutes). Reduce heat to the lowest possible setting and cover the pan. Meanwhile, heat 3 cups of shrimp stock in a small saucepan and keep hot. Every 10 minutes or so, uncover and stir grits. Each time you find them thick enough to hold the spoon upright, stir in a small amount of stock, adding about 2 ½ – 3 cups stock total in 5 or 6 additions. Cook until grits are creamy and tender (but not mushy) throughout, and hold their shape on a spoon—could be anywhere from 60 – 90 minutes. About halfway through the cooking time, add a Parmigiano Reggiano rind and 1 t salt. To finish, season to taste with more salt and several turns of fresh cracked pepper.
Step 4: Shrimp and Sauce
Take shrimp out of fridge and remove any excess moisture with a paper towel. Season with salt and pepper, then set aside.
In a medium-sized non-stick pan, add crushed red pepper, 3/4 cup EVOO, thyme, and garlic. Heat over medium heat for several minutes. Monitor the pan and be careful not to burn the garlic. If the pan seems too hot and garlic is starting to burn, turn down to medium-low. Once the aromatics of the sauce are strong and the garlic is lightly cooked, remove from heat and put on a back burner. The stove top will keep it warm until serving.
Put 1 T EVOO in a cast iron or Le Creuset pan over medium high heat. Once pan is hot, add shrimp. Cook 1-2 minutes on each side, until they are barely opaque and pink in color.
Step 5: Serving
Divide grits evenly among 4 shallow serving bowls. Add equal amounts of sauce to each bowl, making sure you evenly distribute the thyme and garlic bits as well as the oil. Oil will fan out and pool along the sides of the bowl. With tongs, arrange 5 shrimp in a loose stack in center of the each bowl. Sprinkle fresh parsley and some Maldon salt over each bowl and serve immediately.