Decadent Shrimp and Grits
Like most folks, I am prone to impulse buys at the grocery store. This entire dish was developed because I found a small block of smoked blue cheese calling my name as I wandered the aisles seeking inspiration. I thought it would pair incredibly well with some creamy grits, but then I needed a great protein to pair it with. Shrimp was the obvious choice, but I wanted decadence, so I grabbed scallops too. The next culinary tussle involved providing a unique counterpoint to the naturally sweet flavor of my shellfish, hence the bourbon mustard and the lemony peach salsa. And so was born my decadent Shrimp and Grits, developed while walking through my local grocery store! Bourbon mustard seared scallops with salt and pepper shrimp over a peach, lemon and mint salsa. Served on a bed of creamy polenta with smoked blue cheese crumbles.
- Servings 4
For the Bourbon Mustard Sauce for scallops:
- 60 ml (1/4 cup) stone ground mustard
- 45 ml (3 tablespoons) bourbon
- 45 ml (3 tablespoons) honey
- 2 drops liquid smoke
For the Peach, Lemon, and Mint Salsa:
- ¾ medium lemon (quartered, peeled, segmented and sliced small)
- 8 fresh mint leaves, finely chopped
- 1 medium jalapeno pepper, finely chopped
- 15 ml (1 tablespoon) sugar
- 2 medium peaches, peeled, pitted and diced
- 7.5 ml (1 ½ teaspoons) salt, or to taste
- 5 ml (1 teaspoon) coarsely ground black pepper
For the Smoked Blue Cheese Grits:
- 710 ml (3 cups) chicken stock
- 177 ml (¾ cup) yellow grits or polenta (coarse ground cornmeal)
- 60 ml (4 tablespoons) salted butter
- 57 grams (2 ounces) cream cheese
- 57 grams (2 ounces) smoked blue cheese, divided and crumbled
For the Salt and Pepper Shrimp:
- 60 ml (1/4 cup) corn starch
- 30 ml (2 tablespoons) kosher salt
- 30 ml (2 tablespoons) freshly ground black pepper
- 30 m l (2 tablespoons) olive oil
- 15 ml (1 tablespoon) butter
- 24 shrimp, tail on, peeled and deveined (12 count per lb)
For the Seared Scallops:
- 30 ml (2 tablespoons) canola oil
- 12 medium sea scallops (12 – 15 count per lb)
- 7.5 ml (1 ½ teaspoons) kosher salt
- 7.5 ml (1 ½ teaspoons) freshly ground black pepper
- For the Bourbon Mustard Sauce: Combine bourbon mustard sauce ingredients in a bowl and whisk until smooth, and set aside.
2. For the Peach, Lemon and Mint Salsa: Combine the lemon, mint, and jalapeno in a bowl with the sugar and allow to macerate for 20 – 30 minutes. Add peaches, salt and pepper. Stir, and let sit until ready for use, stirring occasionally. Add additional salt to taste.
3. For the Smoked Blue Cheese Grits: In a 2-3 liter (2-3 quart) pot over medium-high heat, bring the stock to a boil. Add the polenta while stirring the stock, and continue stirring for one minute, then reduce heat to medium low. Continue stirring every 30 seconds to a minute until polenta has thickened to a thick pancake batter consistency. Add the butter, cream cheese, and half the blue cheese crumbles, stirring until all have melted in. Reserve the remaining blue cheese for plating.
4. For the Salt and Pepper Shrimp: In a small shallow bowl, combine the corn starch, salt, and pepper. Heat oil and butter in a frying pan (preferably cast iron) over medium-high heat until butter has melted and the bubbles are gone. Drop shrimp into corn starch mixture on one side, flip and repeat, then place in frying pan, approx. 2 to 3 minutes per side, until golden on the outside, and the flesh loses the opaque appearance along the vein line. Stand them up on the vein line for an additional 45 seconds, then place on a wire rack over paper towels until ready to serve.
5. For the Seared Scallops: In a medium frying pan over medium-high heat, heat canola oil until shimmering. Pat the scallops to remove excess moisture, and sprinkle all sides with salt and pepper. Using tongs, dip each scallop into the sauce, ensure it is well coated, then place in pan. Sear each side until golden brown, turning frequently if need be to ensure sugars from the honey do not burn, and until center of scallop sides are no longer translucent. Place on wire rack until serving.
6. For plating, place 177 ml (¾ cup) of grits on a plate, and make three divots. Place 30 ml (2 tablespoons) salsa in each divot, add two shrimp per divot, flipping them so that they stack evenly, and top with a seared scallop. Sprinkle grits with smoked blue cheese crumbles, and garnish scallops with baby mint leaves.