Lush Life

To be a lush chef, does not mean to drink in excess - this can result in scary fires and bad dishes. A lush chef is one who enjoys gourmet cooking/baking, often with fresh ingredients and the smart use of one's home bar. If there happens to be half a bottle of beer, a glass of wine, or a sip of brandy left over...well, one cannot be wasteful. I give you permission to imbibe.

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The Lush Chef
Twitter: @thelushchef Provenance: Santa Monica Dish: Coq au Vin Spirit: Whiskey Wine: Malbec Beer: Hefeweizen Farmer's Market: Santa Monica on Main Street
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Oct 8, 2013

Smoky Shrimp & Grits

Libations used: 1/4 cup white wine...
Libations left over: Pretty much the whole bottle, so buy a nice bottle and serve with dinner...
Usually when I make shrimp and grits, my go-to recipe is this one from Marcus Samuelsson for Red Grits & Shrimp.  But I had a little bit of white wine left in the fridge instead of red, and Food & Wine's recipe for Smoky Shrimp & Grits calls for only a 1/4 of a cup.  I upped the amount of grits and cheese to a full cup each.  If you want them even cheesier, add about 1 1/4 cup total of cheddar.  I opted for white grits for a prettier color contrast with the garlic-paprika sauce.  This is great to whip up on a weeknight, even if you don't have quick-cooking grits.  It will still be quick and easy!  I spent my time peeling the shrimp while my slower-cooking grits were on the stove.  

Smoky Shrimp & Grits - serves 4
  • 1 cup grits
  • Salt & freshly ground black pepper
  • 3/4 cup sharp white cheddar cheese, shredded
  • 1 1/2 cups baby spinach, chiffonade
  • 1/4 cup snipped chives
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 2 large garlic cloves, thinly sliced
  • 1 lb shelled and deveined medium shrimp
  • 1/2 tsp paprika (if you want a bit more heat, use hot paprika)
  • 1/4 cup dry white wine (I used Kim Crawford Sauvignon Blanc)
- In a medium saucepan, bring 4 cups of water to a boil.
- Add 1 cup of grits and a nice, big pinch of salt.
- Cover and cook over low heat, stirring occasionally, for 7 minutes if they're quick-cooking or 20-25 if they're regular grits.  It should be a thick and porridge-like consistency.
- Season with more salt and pepper, and stir in the cheddar cheese.
- Stir in the baby spinach and chives, until the spinach is lightly wilted.
- Remove from heat and cover to keep warm.
- In a large skillet over high heat, add the olive oil.
- Add the garlic and cook until fragrant for about 30 seconds.
- Add the shrimp and paprika, and season with salt and pepper, cooking until shrimp are opaque, for about 2 minutes.
- Add the white wine and cook until the sauce is slightly reduced.
- Spoon the grits on a plate or bowl, and top with the shrimp and the sauce.