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Spicy Shrimp and Grits

Entree, Recipes

José Salazar prefers this recipe that starts with classic ingredients, then turns up the heat. “Coriander is the spice that ties all the elements of the dish together,” he says. “If it wasn’t there, you might miss it more than anything else. It adds a little floral along with citrus notes that play well with the shrimp. And when you add a sprinkle of lemon, you’ll pull out the coriander’s citrus notes even more.”

Spicy Shrimp and Grits | Makes 6 appetizer-size portions
Recipe courtesy of Salazar

1 pound medium-size shrimp, shelled and deveined (save shells to make shrimp stock) 
1/2 cup large-diced carrots
1/2 cup large-diced onions
1/2 cup large-diced celery
1 large tomato, diced 
2 cloves garlic, rough chopped
3/4 cup heavy cream
2 ounces whole butter
1 bay leaf
1/4 cup vegetable oil, divided
1/4 cup small-sliced scallions for garnish
1 lemon cut into wedges for garnish
Salt to taste 

Spice Mix 

1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
3/4 teaspoon ground coriander
1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper
1/2 teaspoon ground fennel seed
1/4 teaspoon ground cayenne
2 tablespoons ground smoked paprika
1/2 teaspoon salt


1 cup milk
1 cup water
1 cup organic grits
2 tablespoons whole butter
Salt to taste 

To make shrimp stock: Peel shrimp and place shells in 1 1/2 quarts of water on stovetop to simmer for 30 minutes. Pour stock through a mesh strainer to remove shells and set aside.

Place 2 tablespoons vegetable oil in medium stockpot over medium heat and sweat the diced vegetables and tomatoes until slightly softened. Add 1 quart shrimp stock, bay leaf and heavy cream and cook for 30 minutes at a low simmer. Remove the bay leaf and puree the rest in a blender with the 2 ounces of butter until smooth. Keep warm over very low heat.

While the shrimp sauce is cooking, make the grits. Place the milk, water and a pinch of salt in a stockpot and bring to a simmer. Add the grits in a low, steady stream, bring back up to a simmer and cook over low heat, stirring occasionally. Once the grits are fully cooked, add the 2 tablespoons of butter and adjust with salt to taste.

To cook the shrimp: Add the remaining vegetable oil to a large saute skillet over high heat, add the shrimp and cook for a minute or two on each side. Once the shrimp is almost fully cooked, add the spice mix to taste and cook for another 1 minute.

To serve, place the grits in the center of a bowl. Spoon the shrimp sauce around the grits, top grits with the shrimp. Garnish with scallions and serve with lemon wedges.