I swear that I’ve eaten more shrimp in the last year than I have in all my life. As seafood goes, it’s incredibly easy to work with (if not somewhat odorous, but then what fish isn’t?) and compared to sea scallops, they’re not as expensive. This past week D and I watched the History Channel’s mini series “The Hatfields and the McCoys” (about America’s most famous feuding families) which got me in the mood for some southern food. My Tupelo Honey Cafe Cookbook was about the closest I had to down to earth southern cooking as my Biltmore cookbook seemed a bit too “posh” and most likely would not have had anything remotely like what the Hatfields and McCoys might have eaten at one time.
In case you’ve not read my blog before, the Tupelo Honey Cafe is a great restaurant in Asheville, North Carolina (there are actually two locations) that combines southern comfort with eclectic flavor pairings and is known for being a staunch advocate of the farm to fork movement. We ate there last year when we visited Asheville and had a great and memorable meal.
I decided on its recipe for Shrimp and Goat Cheese Grits with Roasted Red Pepper Sauce for no other reason than I’ve become obsessed with goat cheese. The cookbook notes that “shrimp and grits is iconic fare in the Carolina Low Country, where it’s been a favorite on-the-boat breakfast for shrimpers for years.” While I’m not quite ready to eat shrimp at breakfast (I had enough of the fish experience in the morning when I studied in South Korea), it was a great meal. D had never eaten grits before and while he said that the taste was “plain” I assured him that it would have been a lot plainer had I not added the goat cheese. I accompanied the dish with Tupelo honey glazed carrots.
Shrimp and Goat Cheese Grits with Roasted Red Pepper Sauce
2 tablespoons plus 1 1/2 teaspoons olive oil
1 pound large uncooked shrimp, peeled, deveined, and tails removed
1 tablespoon minced garlic
1/2 cup thinly sliced roasted red bell pepper
2 tablespoons Creole spice
1/4 cup dry white wine (such as Sauvignon Blanc)
3 tablespoons unsalted cold butter
Goat Cheese Basil Grits (recipe below)
Heat the olive oil in a large skillet on high heat. Add the shrimp and garlic and cook for about 4 minutes, or until the shrimp begins to turn a little pink. Add the bell peppers and Creole spice and cook for about 2 minutes, or until the peppers are heated through. Add the wine and cook for 1 to 2 minutes, just until the shrimp turns pink. Remove from the heat and add the butter, swirling the pan to combine all the liquids. Serve the shrimp over the grits and top with the warm sauce left in the skillet.
MAKES 4 SERVINGS
(Alcohol pairings-Belgian Witbier and old vine Zinfandel, Gewurztraminer)
1 tablespoon sugar
2 1/2 teaspoons sea salt
1 tablespoon paprika
2 teaspoons cayenne pepper
1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1 teaspoon white pepper
Combine the ingredients. Makes 1/4 cup
Goat Cheese Basil Grits
3 cups water
1 teaspoon sea salt
1 1/4 cups quick-cooking grits
1 tablespoon unsalted butter
2 tablespoons cream
4 ounces goat cheese
2 tablespoons chopped basil, for garnish
In a heavy saucepan, bring the water and salt to a boil over high heat. Stir in the grits and butter and bring back to a boil. Add the cream and decrease the heat to low, simmering for about 5 minutes, or until the mixture is creamy and thick. Remove the pan from the stove and whisk in the goat cheese until melted. Garnish with the basil.
MAKES 4 SERVINGS