When I was growing up and spending summers in North Carolina, I was heavily influenced by Southern and High Country cuisine, so this is my contemporary approach to a traditional BBQ favorite. This is now a mainstay on the menu at my restaurant, Bulldog Barbecue, in North Miami, and I served it (to wide acclaim!) at the BubbleQ in 2009. With it, a crisp, fruity, light chardonnay would be ideal.
SERVES 2 TO 4
1 pound shrimp, peeled and deveined
2 tablespoons Bulldog’s dry rub (or other store-bought dry rub)
6 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
¼ cup chopped garlic
¼ cup chopped shallots
1 cup chicken stock
1 cup cooked hominy grits
¼ cup dry white wine
½ cup diced tomato
4 tablespoons butter
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
¾ to 1 cup heavy cream
6 tablespoons white cheddar cheese
2 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley
½ cup sliced scallions, white and tender green parts, for garnish
In a bowl, combine the shrimp with the dry rub and 3 tablespoons of the oil. Marinate in the refrigerator for 4 hours.
Heat a saucepan over medium heat. Add the remaining 3 tablespoons oil, half (2 tablespoons) of the garlic, and half (2 tablespoons) of the shallots; cook, stirring frequently, until translucent, 3 to 5 minutes. Add the stock and bring to a boil. Add the grits and cook, stirring constantly, until the stock has evaporated, about 10 minutes. Set aside.
Heat a sauté pan over high heat. Add the shrimp and sauté until opaque, 1½ to 2 minutes. Add the remaining 2 tablespoons garlic and the remaining 2 tablespoons shallots, and cook until translucent, about 1 minute. Deglaze the pan with the wine. Then add the tomato, swirl in 2 tablespoons of the butter, and season with salt and pepper. Set aside.
Return the grits to medium heat. Add the cream in ¼-cup increments, stirring constantly, until the texture is smooth and creamy. Add the cheese, remaining 2 tablespoons butter, and parsley, and heat through. Season with salt and pepper. Spoon the grits into 2 to 4 serving bowls and place the shrimp on top. Garnish with the scallions, and serve.