shrimp and grits with broccolini

Okay, I have like five minutes to update before I head to the library. Five minutes! So here’s a picture, a few sentences of blathering, and a recipe:

Ostensibly I made this for JM, but in actual fact I made it for Paula Deen — who is my only Republican (imaginary) friend, and whose recipes I continue to jovially shove left of center. After sharply decreasing the amounts of butter and cheese in this recipe, adding more garlic to it, and then serving it all up on a grid of latte-sipping, sushi-eating vegetables, I felt like I had sufficiently mangled its Southern pedigree and forced it to conform to my bourgeois Angeleno ways. So, Paula, I hope we can just agree to disagree. Yes, a metric ton of cheddar does make for some exquisite grits, but no, extending tax cuts for the wealthy will not improve the economy. Let’s call it a draw, shall we?

Progressive Shrimp and Grits
(serves two)

Ingredients:
-1/2 cup grits
-1 1/2 cups water
-1/3 cup half and half
-3/4 cup stock (vegetable or chicken)
-1/4 cup shredded cheese
-2 tbs butter
-1/2 pound shrimp, peeled and de-veined
-1 shallot, diced
-4 garlic cloves, chopped coarsely
-juice of one lemon
-salt and pepper
-i bunch broccolini
-2 tbs olive oil

For the broccolini: Preheat the oven to 325°F. Chop the ends of the stalks off the broccolini, rinse them, and toss with the olive oil, half the chopped garlic, and a few healthy shakes of salt. Roast for about 30-40 minutes, until they still have some bite but won’t break your teeth. You’ll want to use some tongs to mix ’em around every ten minutes or so while they roast.

For the grits: Pour the water and stock in a pot with a lid, and put the pot over high heat until the liquid boils. Add the half and half and a pinch of salt, stirring, and when the liquid starts bubbling again add the grits. I used yellow grits for this, but you can use whatever you want. Anyway, reduce the heat to a simmer (so the grits don’t explode in your face), and stir often. If they dry out while they cook, add more water or stock to thin them out. You want a thick, porridge-like consistency, so the shrimp really have something to hang out on like a sofa. Once the grits are cooked through (which takes about 20 minutes), add the cheese and a few cracks of pepper. Stir in and cover.

For the shrimp: I used those Bodybuilder Shrimp from the Gulf of Steroids, but you may prefer the little guys. Up to you. In any event, put a nonstick or cast-iron pan over medium heat and melt your butter. When it sizzles, add the garlic and shallot and fry until they begin to brown. Now add your shrimp, squeeze the lemon over them, and sautée each side until it turns red. When the shrimp are nice ‘n’ firm ‘n’ curly, which should have only taken about two minutes to pull off, put them on a plate and be sure to reserve all the juices from the pan.

You don’t need to put your broccolini in a grid, but come on, how awesome does that look? Also, the grid makes a nice little container for the grits. A grit-grid, if you will. Oh my gosh, look at the time! You really dodged a bullet there. Off to the library I go!

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