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Shrimp & Grits Cakes

Reprinted from The Edge 2004.2005
Photo by Steve Alterman
Shrimp & Grits with Barbecue Vinaigrette

(adapted from Magnolia Grill’s fried oyster recipe in "Not Afraid of Flavor")

SERVES FOUR — SIX


Grits:
• 1 cup white hominy, rinsed and drained
• 2 cups vegetable or chicken stock
• ½ cup half and half
• 2 slices country ham, diced
• olive oil
• ¼ cup diced fennel
• ¼ cup diced carrots

• ½ cup diced sweet yellow onion
• ¼ cup diced red pepper
• 2 cloves garlic, minced
• 2 cups baby lima beans, simmered in water until tender
• 1 cup arugula leaves, coarsely chopped
• ¼ cup scallions, chopped

Combine stock and hominy in a saucepan and simmer, stirring occasionally until thickened. While grits are cooking, brown country ham in a skillet (I prefer cast iron), remove from pan and set aside. Heat a tablespoon or two of olive oil in the skillet and saute fennel, carrots, onions and peppers until softened. Do not brown vegetables; you may need to add a little water to the pan to prevent browning. Stir in garlic, cook for another minute, and add to cooked grits; keep warm. Add lima beans and cream to grits and season to taste. Stir in country ham and arugula before serving.

Barbecue Vinaigrette:
• ¼ cup cider vinegar
• 2 tablespoons honey
• pinch crushed red pepper flakes
• ¼ cup water

• 2 tablespoons roasted garlic
• 2 tablespoons tomato paste
• ¼ cup peanut oil
• TABASCO red pepper sauce

Combine first four ingredients in a saucepan and simmer for five minutes. Transfer to blender and add garlic and tomato paste, then drizzle in peanut oil and blend until emulsified. Season to taste with TABASCO, salt and pepper, and set aside.

Shrimp:
We used fresh, large Carolina shrimp, shelled, skewered and grilled with just a sprinkling of kosher salt & pepper. Always cook shrimp until just done; overcooking makes them tough and causes shrinkage. Figure at least six large shrimp per person.

Assembly:
Top grits with grilled shrimp, sprinkle with chopped scallions and drizzle with vinaigrette.




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