Specialty of the House

Bill Neal didn't invent Shrimp and Grits, but his interpretation of this simple low-country fisherman's breakfast has become part of his legacy. Robert Stehling, now chef-owner of Hominy Grill in Charleston, began his culinary career at Crook's Corner in the Eighties and recalls that "some nights, it would be 25 percent of what we sold, with eighty, ninety, a hundred" plates leaving the kitchen.

Shrimp and Grits now has an honored place on the menu at Crook's Corner, as well as at Hominy Grill and other restaurants featuring Southern regional cuisine. It's also a relatively easy dish to make at home.

Shrimp and Grits
Serves four
Cheese grits (recipe below)
1 pound fresh shrimp
6 slices bacon
Peanut oil
2 cups sliced white button mushrooms
1 cup minced scallions
1 large clove garlic, peeled and minced
4 teaspoons lemon juice
Tabasco sauce
Salt and pepper
2 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley

Prepare grits and hold in a warm place or in a double boiler
Peel shrimp, rinse, and pat dry
Dice bacon and sautè lightly in a skillet until edges of the bacon are brown, but the bacon is not crisp. Remove from heat, drain on paper towels, then crumble.
Add enough peanut oil top the pan to make a layer of fat about 1/8 inch thick. When oil is quite hot, add shrimp in an even layer. Turn shrimp as they color; add mushrooms, and sautè, stirring, for about 4 minutes.
Add scallions and garlic. Heat and stir for about a minute more. Season with lemon juice, a dash or two of Tabasco, salt and pepper to taste, and parsley.
Divide the grits among four plates. Spoon the shrimp on top, sprinkle with crumbled bacon, and serve immediately.

Cheese Grits
1 cup stone-ground or quick grits
(not instant)
4 cups water (or milk, for creamier grits)
1 cup grated cheddar cheese
1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese
4 tablespoons butter
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/8 teaspoon pepper
Pinch of cayenne pepper
1/4 teaspoon Tabasco sauce

Cook grits according to package instructions for 1 cup of dry grits. Turn off heat and add remaining ingredients to sauce pan. Stir until just mixed and serve.


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