Low Country in the Midwest | Ooh, Lah Lah Shrimp & Grits

Awww.  I live in the midwest!  I feel happy about that!  Most people confuse Ohio with Iowa.  But whatever, even Ruhlman (who is from Cleveland) visited here last weekend and was, I think it’s safe to say, gobsmacked by how great it is in little ol’ Columbus.  (It’s in Ohio, not Iowa, people.)

So.  Dinner tonight was Shrimp and Grits.  I wanted to make this because I got my hands on a super secret new product that Snowville Creamery is developing.  And they gave it to li’l ol’ Persephone to try out.  Snowville developed a uniquely wonderful dairy product by concentrating very low-fat milk 2 1/2 times with a nano filtration system.  Science!  It makes the milk kind of like evaporated milk, only without heating.  It’s so deliciously sweet and thick and almost like cream, but with the fat of 2% milk.  You want it, right?  You’re thinking, “what might I do with that?”  Well, Persephone thought grits.  She also thought about rice pudding, but that’s another post.   Being from Texas, and having spent a fair bit of time in Georgia as well, cheese grits are something that frequently comes to mind.  Can’t help it. 

So without further ado and back story:

Ooh Lah, Lah Shrimp & Grits, serves four, plus a small Cherub with some leftover grits for breakfast (yay me!)

1 cup stone ground grits (I used local grits from Stutzman Farm)

3 cups Snowville Creamery Ooh, Lah Lah (or 3 cups whole or low-fat milk; please just not skim.  Please.)

3 cups of water (or stock)

1/2  cup smoked (really!) cheddar cheese, grated (I used Middlefield Original Cheese Co-Op)

1 1/2 cups cheddar cheese, grated (I used Tillamook)

In a large sauce pot, add the six cups of liquid along with a generous amount of salt.  Bring to a boil, but be careful.  This boils over very easily.  Keep an eye on it.  When it comes to a boil, sprinkle the grits over the top a little bit at a time and whisk to incorporate.  Bring back to a boil and then reduce to a simmer.  Cook for 30 to 40 minutes (because I’m using stone-ground), stirring regularly to keep it from sticking to the bottom.  Stir in the cheeses.

Just before the grits are done:

1/4 pound bacon, diced

4 oz mushrooms, chopped (I used wild hedgehog mushrooms, because that’s how I roll.  In absence of that, you can use a nice shiitake.)

1 leek,white and pale green parts sliced

1 1/4 pounds shrimp, peeled and deveined

Paprika, dried thyme,salt, pepper

Juice from 1/2 lemon

Render the bacon in a large nonstick pan.  Remove crispy bacon to a paper towel-lined plate.  Add in the chopped mushrooms and leek, saute until soft, about 10 minutes over medium-low heat.  Sprinkle the shrimp with several dashes of the paprika, two generous pinches of the dried thyme and a good amount of salt and pepper.  Add to the hot bacon renderings.  Stir to cook evenly, approximately 4 to 5 minutes.  Just before serving squeeze the 1/2 lemon over the shrimp and stir to combine.

To serve:

Pour the grits into a large serving bowl.  Top with the shrimp mixture.  Sprinkle with the bacon.  Serve with a Joseph Drouhin Saint-Véran White Burgandy and a 2007  Treana Viognier/Marsanne Blend.  Both can be purchased locally (Columbus-ites) at the Vino 100 Short North.  Those guys are great.

Tonight’s playlist included initially, Fly Farm Blues, by Jack White.  I was vetoed by Cherub, who wanted to hear “opera.”  Kid you not.  So we also enjoyed Anna Netrebko’s version of Puccini’s O Mio Babbino Caro.

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