Simple And Sublime Shrimp And Grits


Shrimp and Grits at the Boathouse
(serves 8)

2 cups whole milk
1 cup half and half
1 cup water
1/4 pound unsalted butter
3/4 cup stone-ground grits
Salt and fresh ground black pepper to taste

For shrimp:
4 t vegetable or canola oil
3 lbs. shirmp, 26/30 count or larger
1 lb. Andouille sausage, sliced
3 cloves garlic, minced fine
1 each -- small red, yellow, green bell peppers, sliced thinly into strips
1 large red onion, sliced
1 1/2 cups canned, chopped tomatoes
1 t, Cajun seasoning blend
1 cup clam juice
1 1/2 cups green Tabasco sauce -- see recipe below
5 green onions, thinly sliced

Method for grits:
Place the water, milk, half and half, and the butter in a sauce pot. Bring to a simmer. Slowly add the grits, stir, and cook on very low heat for two hours. Stir frequently. Season with salt and pepper.

Method for shrimp:
Heat oil in a large skillet until it is smoking. Then add shrimp followed by the sausage and the garlic. Saute for one minute.

Add the chopped tomatoes and the cajun seasoning. Saute for another minute or so.

Then add the clam juice to thin out the sauce - note you may not need the entire called-for amount - adjust to your preference.

For plating: place the shrimp mixture over a bed of grits, drizzle with the green Tabasco sauce. Garnish with the green onions.

Green Tabasco sauce
Makes four cups

3 shallots, minced
1 cup white wine
1 cup rice wine vinegar
1 cup fresh lemon juice
1 bottle green Tabasco sauce
1 quart heavy cream
4 t cornstarch
Salt and freshly ground black pepper

Combine the shallots with the white wine, rice wine vinegar, lemon juice in a large sauce pot. Using medium heat - reduce the mixture by half. Add the green Tabasco sauce and the cream. Bring to a simmer and then cook for 10 minutes on low heat. Dissolve the cornstarch in water until it forms a light paste. Whisk the cornstarch paste into the hot sauce and cook until it thickens about five minutes. Season with salt and pepper. Use on shrimp and grits and crab cakes.

Pan Seared Grouper in Ham Hock Broth with Cippolini Onion, Roma Tomato and Leeks over Carolina Gold Rice Cake

Chef Charles Arena, The Boathouse at Breach Inlet
Serves 4

For the Rice Cake:
1/4 pound Carolina Gold Rice (cooked and cooled)
1 egg
1/2 cup mayonnaise
Minced Chive and Flat Leaf Parsley
1 cup Japanese bread crumbs (Panko)

Combine cooked rice and egg in mixing bowl using, add mayonnaise and continue folding until thoroughly mixed. Add fresh herbs and 1/4 cup of bread crumbs, and mix until incorporated. Portion the rice mixture into four evenly sized cakes. Roll the cakes in the remaining bread crumbs. Rice Cakes can then be seared in olive oil over medium heat until both sides are golden brown and crispy.

For the Broth:
1 teaspoon olive oil
1 yellow onion, diced
1 carrot, diced
1 celery stalk, diced
1 leek
1 bay leaf
3 sprigs fresh thyme, leaves picked
1 bunch flat leaf parsley, leaves picked and chopped
1/4 cup Marsala wine
1 cup red wine
2 ham hocks
2 cups chicken stock or broth
1 tablespoon butter
Salt and Pepper to taste
Juice of one lemon

Heat olive oil in medium sized sauce pan over medium heat, and add onion, carrot, and celery and cook until onion develops a little color. Deglaze the vegetables by adding red wine and Marsala wine then reduce the liquid by half. Add leeks, ham hocks, thyme, parsley and chicken stock, and simmer mixture for one to one and one half hours. Remove ham hocks and reserve. Strain remaining mixture and reserve the liquid. Finish broth by whisking in whole butter, lemon juice and salt and pepper to taste. Clean ham hocks and add meat to broth.

For the dish:
4 each 6-ounce portions fresh Grouper
20 each cippolini onions
1 leek, halved and sliced
2 Roma tomatoes, 1/2" Diced

Sear the Grouper in olive oil over medium-high heat, starting flesh side down, until fish is nicely colored and develops crispy crust. Turn over, and continue to sear for 2-3 more minutes, then remove and finish in 350 degree oven for two to three minutes. In same pan, add one tablespoon olive oil, cippolini onions, leeks and sauté for two minutes, add broth and cook for two more minutes. Finish with fresh tomatoes.

Place Carolina Gold Rice Cakes in center of large pasta bowl or plate with raised rim. Place Grouper atop the rice cake, then distribute evenly the vegetable mixture and broth between the four plates. Garnish with whole chive shoots.