One of the things I have loved about Twitter is "meeting" other B&B owners from around the world. It's great seeing how things are done differently & being able to learn from each other. Quite a few of my breakfast dishes have been inspired by tweets & pins from these great chefs.
I'm not going to be able to manage a years worth of breakfasts on my own so I'm hoping to do a weekly guest recipe. This week I'm really pleased to feature Shrimps & Grits from Strawberry Creek Inn in California.
Let's be honest, this is never going to appear on the breakfast menu here at Hopton House. Trying to get some guests to believe that pancakes & bacon is a good combination can be an uphill struggle, but the shrimp may make it into an evening meal here
Excerpt from 'Memorable Mornings from the Strawberry Creek Inn"...
Anyone who grew up or spent time in the coastal southern United States will fondly recognize this hearty dish. Originally known simply as ‘Breakfast Shrimp’, it was enjoyed by coastal fishermen and their families for decades during shrimp season, well before its more recent popularization by the food press and its inclusion on the menus of upscale Southern eateries.
On the other hand, non-Southerners may think this dish a bit odd. The combination of the oft-misunderstood phenomenon known as ‘grits’* (the name alone scares some people) with seafood (for breakfast?) seems odd enough by itself, but the addition of cheese brings the count of broken culinary rules to a level that might be just enough to send many over the edge. The concept is strange indeed to some palates, but the actual flavor experience reliably converts the non-believer. I’ve seen it myself many, many times.
For our version of Shrimp & Grits, we couldn’t resist the urge to add a bit of a Caribbean twist by throwing in some coconut milk, a bit of fresh thyme, and a twist of lime. It performs equally well as a breakfast, brunch, lunch, or dinner entree–a fortunate side-effect of the unique ingredients it features.
Serve this dish with total confidence to your Southern or non-Southern guests. In the end, they will most certainly be impressed by your boldness. You, in turn, will most certainly be pleased with the utter rapture on their faces.
If you’re afraid of the initial reactions you might get from your guests, you can always announce that you are serving ‘Caribbean Polenta and Prawns.’ But make sure there are no Southerners in the crowd–they will surely call you out.
Serve with your favorite fruit side dish (see Sides, Condiments, Brunch Desserts, page 55) or a simple fruit salad, and your favorite breakfast bread (see Breakfast Breads, page 35).
For the Grits
3 cups Whole Milk
1 cup Mushroom Stock
1 cup Stone-ground Grits (or any non-quick-cooking grits)
3 Tbsp Unsalted Butter
Heavy Cream as needed
1 tsp+ Salt
1 tsp+ Fresh-ground pepper
For the Shrimp
1 lb Shrimp, peeled, de-veined, and butterflied (tails off or on — on your preference)
1 tsp+ Cayenne Pepper (depending on how much heat you like)
1 cup Coconut Milk
6 Slices Applewood smoked bacon, chopped into small pieces
4 tsp Lime juice, freshly squeezed
2 Tbsp Chopped thyme
½ cup Scallions, thinly sliced (total amount needed is twice this amount—see ‘Toppings’)
2 cups Sharp Cheddar Cheese, shredded
½ cup Scallions, thinly sliced
1½ cups Tomatoes, diced
Bacon (reserved from Shrimp prep)
Combine milk and mushroom stock in a large saucepan and bring to a boil. Add salt and pepper, then pour in grits slowly, whisking continuously, bringing back up to a boil. Reduce heat to a simmer, cover, and cook until liquid is absorbed, about 20 to 25 minutes. Stir/whisk every 5 minutes or so. Remove from heat. Stir in butter and a dash of heavy cream, taste, then add more butter, cream, or salt/pepper if needed. Set aside, covered.
Rinse shrimp and pat dry. Toss shrimp in cayenne pepper, then pour coconut milk over shrimp and toss to combine. Set aside. Place chopped bacon in a cold skillet or frying pan, and turn heat to low. Stir often and cook until browned. Remove bacon with a slotted spoon, draining bacon grease back into the pan, and drain bacon on paper towels. Increase heat to medium and add shrimp to bacon grease one by one, shaking off excess coconut milk before adding to pan. Cook shrimp on each side until pink, pour lime juice over shrimp, being careful of spattering, then add scallions and thyme. Saute for 3 minutes. Remove from heat and set aside.
Spoon grits into a serving bowl, add shrimp and desired toppings, and serve immediately.
For buffet-style service for a crowd, serve grits, shrimp, and each topping in separate large bowls and allow your guests to assemble with their desired toppings.
*For those of you not familiar with grits, in short it is a porridge consisting of ground corn. It is similar to polenta, but more coarsely ground. It has a Native American origin, but is popular almost exclusively in the Southern United States of America. In this case at least, Wikipedia provides an accurate, and slightly more detailed, summary.
Photo credit: Photo by Sandra Hale, copyright 2010, of Sandra Hale Photography and Inn Cuisine.