Shrimp and Grits

The king of Southern dishes. Perfect accompanied by crisp, mixed greens and followed by a slice of pecan pie.

Serves 4

4.5c water
1 Tbsp. Better Than Boullion
1/8 tsp. baking soda
1 c. white corn grits
2 Tbsp butter
2/3 c. grated cheddar cheese
1/4 c. grated parmesan cheese

6 strips thick sliced bacon, cut crosswise into 1/4" pieces

12 shrimp, peeled and tails removed, shells reserved
1 tsp. salt 

1 c. water
4 Tbsp olive oil
1 medium onion, chopped
6 cloves garlic, minced
1 large tomato, diced
1 red pepper, diced
1 tsp. balsamic vinegar
1 tsp. fish sauce
1 tsp. white sugar

2 green onions, chopped
Hot sauce
Black pepper to taste

Bring 1c, water to boil in a small saucepan. Add salt and reserved shrimp shells, simmer on low for 15 minutes. Remove shells, reserve liquid.

In a 10" frying pan over medium-low heat, sauté bacon. Make sure this is done slowly - it should take about 30 minutes to become golden brown and slightly crisp. Remove bacon to a small bowl, drain off fat, reserving 2 Tbsp. Keep pan on the stove, as this will be used to fry the shrimp.

Bring 4.5c. water to boil in large saucepan, add baking soda. Slowly stir in grits and boil for 3 minutes, stirring constantly. Reduce heat to low and simmer for 30-40 minutes. If using quick cooking grits, adjust as necessary. Once grits are cooked, remove from heat, add butter and cheese, cover, and reserve.

Heat 2 Tbsp olive oil in a 12" skillet, add onion and cook over medium-low heat for 10 minutes until softened and beginning to brown. Add garlic, cook for 30 seconds. Add tomato and red pepper, reduce heat to low, and simmer for 10 minutes. Add reserved shrimp-shell liquid, bring to a boil, and simmer for 20 minutes, or until most of the water is evaporated. Transfer to a food processor, add sugar, fish sauce and vinegar, and process until smooth. Leave tomato mixture in the food processor. 

Heat bacon fat on high until almost smoking. Add shrimp and cook for 1 minute. Flip, and cook for one more minute. Remove shrimp to a bowl. Add remaining 2 Tbsp olive oil to bacon fat. Start food processor with tomato mixture running and pour fat/oil mixture in a thin stream over the sauce.

Spoon grits into a soup bowl. Add 1/4c. tomato sauce, 4 shrimp, a sprinkle of bacon, a sprinkle of onions, and pepper and hot sauce to taste.