Our niece, P, is heading to New Orleans for spring break this weekend and boy, are we jealous. We haven't been since 2013, and Amy can feel it in her bones. It's an ever-present longing for her. Like Louis Armstrong's song goes, "Do you know what it means to miss New Orleans?"
We met P for dinner to give her some trip tips - things to do, places to go, restaurants and bars to visit, must-eat dishes. You know the drill. And a few days later, no surprise, Amy had a yearning for Southern food. Her favorite New Orleans dish, in particular - BBQ Shrimp.
We've written about BBQ Shrimp before (here, here, here). Amy tries not to make it too often, as it is an exceptionally rich (read: full of butter) dish. But at times like this, it's more of a need than a want. We usually gorge ourselves on shrimp and bread alone, but this time we made them over creamy cheesy grits. Oh yeah.
Note: Start the grits first, as they take slightly longer than the shrimp.
BBQ Shrimp 'n Grits
1 pound large fresh unpeeled (heads, tails, shell left on)
3 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce
2 tablespoons coarsely ground black pepper
3 teaspoons Creole seasoning (such as Tony Chachere's)
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 teaspoon dried crushed rosemary
2 tablespoons hot water
1/2 lemon, seeds removed
1 stick unsalted butter, chilled
Place shrimp in a large skillet. Add Worcestershire sauce, pepper, Creole seasoning, garlic, rosemary and water. Squeeze the lemon over the shrimp to add the juice, then put what's left of the lemon into the pan. Cook over high heat, occasionally stirring/tossing, until shrimp start to turn pink (about 2 minutes). Reduce heat to medium, then add butter, one tablespoon at a time, to the pan. Continue to stir and/or toss gently while adding the butter, until all butter is incorporated into the sauce and shrimp are fully, but not overly, cooked (2-3 minutes depending on the size of the shrimp). Serve over grits with crusty bread and lots of napkins.
3/4 cup stone-ground corn meal (aka grits, aka polenta)
2 cups chicken stock
3/4 cup half-and-half
4 tablespoons cream cheese (regular or whipped)
2 tablespoons grated Parmesan cheese (or to taste)
kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
Place all ingredients in a medium saucepan. Bring to a boil, then reduce to a simmer. Continue to cook, stirring frequently, until they are smooth and tender (about 10 minutes).