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Saucy Shrimp & Cheesy Cauliflower Grits

If you're looking for traditional shrimp & grits, this ain't it. But, it's damn good and worth your time.


My work travels took me down south quite a bit. Nashville...Austin...New Orleans...all places where fun, amazing food and killer cocktails can be found around every corner. Since work and travels have been put on hold for now, I find myself craving the delicious dishes I've enjoyed over the years. Shrimp & grits is definitely one of those meals that's been on my mind lately.

My version plays with some Italian ingredients and replaces real grits with cauliflower ones, but it is oh, so tasty and satisfying. And that sauce? You guys. It's a little spicy, a little sweet and full of flavor. It's warm and comforting -which is exactly how shrimp & grits is supposed to be. 

Enjoy!

Saucy Shrimp & Cheesy Cauliflower Grits

Prep Time: 30 minutes

Cook Time: 45 minutes

Total Time: 1 hour and 15 minutes

Servings: 4


INGREDIENTS:


Spicy Shrimp:

1.5lbs shrimp, peel + devein

3 Tbsp Olive Oil

1/4 tsp cayenne pepper

1/4 tsp black pepper

1/4 tsp salt

1/4 tsp smoked paprika


Sauce:

1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil

3 Tbsp butter

1/2 sweet onion, minced

3 Calabrian chilies with seeds, minced

3 Roma tomatoes, diced

2 cups spinach

2 Tbsp fresh herbs (rosemary, thyme, oregano)

1/4 tsp red pepper flake

2 garlic cloves, minced

2 chicken sausage links, diced

1/4 cup water

salt + pepper


Cheesy Cauliflower Grits:

1lb cauliflower, broken down into rice/grain size pieces (this can be done in food processor)

1 cup water

1/2 cup half & half

2 cups sharp white cheddar, shredded

1.5-2 tsp salt

1.5 tsp white pepper


INSTRUCTIONS:

  1. Place the peeled and deveined shrimp in a bowl and toss with cayenne, black pepper, salt and smoked paprika. Cover bowl in plastic wrap and place in fridge until ready to cook.

  2. To prepare the sauce, heat 1/4 cup olive oil and 3 Tbsp butter in a large pan over medium heat. When the butter has melted and the oil shimmers, add the onion. season with salt and pepper.

  3. Cook the onions until soft, about 4-5 minutes. Add calabrian chilies and red pepper flake and stir to combine. Saute for 1-2 minutes. Add diced up chicken sausage and season with salt and pepper. Cook until just starting to brown.

  4. Add garlic, diced tomatoes and fresh herbs. Sir to combine.

  5. Cook the mixture until the tomatoes have soften, about 5-6 minutes. As the tomatoes are cooking, break them down with a spatula or wooden spoon. You want to get all those juices into the mix!

  6. Add 1/4 cup water and the spinach. Stir everything together until combined and season with salt and pepper.

  7. Lower the temperature and allow the sauce to simmer for about 20 minutes, stirring every so often.

  8. You want the liquid in the sauce to reduce slightly, while still maintaining a good consistency so that the shrimp is well coated.

  9. Lower the temperature on the sauce to keep it warm while you prepare the shrimp and grits.

  10. To prepare the grits, heat 1 cup water and 1/2 cup of half & half in a large pan over medium-high heat. When it begins to simmer, add broken down cauliflower and salt and white pepper to the pan and stir to combine.

  11. Cook the cauliflower until soft, about 7-8 minutes. Most of the liquid should be absorbed by now.

  12. Remove cauliflower from heat and fold in the cheese. Taste the mixture and add any salt + white pepper that you feel is necessary.

  13. To cook the shrimp, heat 3 Tbsp olive oil in a large pan over medium-high heat. When the oil shimmers, add shrimp in a single layer. Cook both sides of the shrimp until pink and looking slightly charred.

  14. When the shrimp is done cooking, add directly to sauce and stir to combine. Make sure the shrimp is thoroughly incorporated into the sauce. Taste the sauce and season with additional salt and black pepper if necessary.

  15. Add cauliflower grits to a bowl, top with saucy shrimp and enjoy!

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