July 11, 2013

Shrimp & Grits

Grits take a while to cook, it's true (even "quick" grits...and let's not even consider instant grits, which are par-cooked and more finely ground to speed along the cooking, but which suffer texturally), but shrimp take almost no time at all, so it balances out, more or less. Can't get grits? Make your favourite cheesy polenta recipe instead (like the one previously showcased for making polenta fries and Meatballs & Polenta). It won't have the same texture, but it will be a lovely bed for the shrimp to sprawl upon.

The shrimp portion of this dish comes together pretty darn quick, so make sure that your grits (or polenta, if you're going that route) is pretty much ready to serve before you fire up the frying pan.

For two servings:

250 grams peeled shrimp (31-40 count, or 20 shrimp)
2 slices thick cut bacon, cut into matchsticks (or thin lardons)
2 green onions, finely sliced
1/2 red bell pepper, finely diced
1-2 jalapenos or serranos, or green chiles, finely diced

Fry up the bits of bacon over medium-high heat until they start to crisp. Spoon off some of the fat, if necessary, so you just have a thin layer in the bottom of the pan. Add the shrimp, and give them 30 seconds without disturbing. Flip each shrimp over, and add the peppers and onions. Let them cook for 15-20 seconds undisturbed, then stir and sauté until the shrimp are pinkly opaque instead of grey and translucent, and the vegetables are softened and crisp around the edges. If you like, you can add a good pinch of your favourite cajun-style spice mixture, or just a quick hit of cayenne (or Tabasco sauce). You shouldn't need additional salt, because the bacon is salty enough to season the whole dish.

Serve up the polenta into shallow bowls, and tumble the shrimp and vegetables over top. Top with freshly ground black pepper, and serve.

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