For your mouth-watering pleasure, I offer you this recipe, adapted from Saveur. It came about after a handful of Slow Foodies visited George Washington’s Gristmill at historic Mount Vernon. It has been tested in the kitchen of at least one SFDC board member, to much acclaim. It serves 4 people as a main course.
- 1 cup George Washington’s Gristmill grits (seriously, they’re the best!)
- 4½ cups chicken broth
- Olive oil
- 2 slices thick-cut bacon, chopped
- 1 lb. medium shrimp (about 30), peeled and deveined
- Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
- 2 TBSP butter
- 1-2 handfuls shiitake mushrooms, washed, patted dry, then thinly sliced (I like the ones from North Cove Mushrooms, at the Dupont farmers’ market)
- 2 garlic cloves, finely chopped
- ¾ cup grated cheddar
- ¼ cup freshly shaved parmesan
- 4 scallions, thinly sliced
In a medium cast iron pot, bring 4 cups chicken stock to a boil over high heat. Reduce heat to low and whisk in grits. Cook, whisking frequently, until grits are tender and creamy, 30–40 minutes.
Meanwhile, heat oil in a medium/large skillet over medium heat. Add bacon and cook, stirring occasionally, until crisp, about 10 minutes. Using a slotted spoon, transfer bacon to a paper towel–lined plate; set aside. Reserve cooking fat in skillet.
Season shrimp with salt and pepper. Over medium-high heat, add shrimp to skillet and cook, turning once, until bright pink, about 2 minutes. Transfer shrimp with a slotted spoon to a dish that you can keep warm in a 200F oven.
Lower burner heat to medium, then add mushrooms to skillet and cook, stirring occasionally, until tender (about 5 minutes), then add garlic and cook until fragrant (about 1 minute).
Raise heat to high, add remaining 1/2 cup of chicken broth, and scrape bottom of skillet with a wooden spoon. Cook until broth reduces by half (about 3 minutes).
Return shrimp to skillet along with remaining butter and cook, stirring frequently, until sauce thickens, (about 1 minute).
Stir 1 TBSP butter into grits, along with parmesan. Sprinkle cheddar on top, then use a blowtorch (if you’re brave) or a creme brulee torch (if you’re fainthearted like me) to melt the cheese.
Divide grits between 4 bowls; top each with shrimp and sauce. Garnish each bowl with bacon and scallions.