Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Shrimp and Grits with Tasso Cream Sauce

Oh my!  Why did it take me so long to make this?!  Delicious, fast, easy, tons of flavor... WooHoo!

Click for Printable Recipe
Ingredients:
  • 2 servings cooked grits
    • plus milk and shredded cheddar cheese
  • 1 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 Tbsp butter
  • 1/2 cup diced tasso ham
  • 2 Tbsp diced onion
  • 2 Tbsp diced peppers (I used red, orange, yellow)
  • 1 large garlic clove, finely diced
  • 20 medium to large shrimp, peeled and de-veined, with tails on
  • 1/4 cup white wine
  • 1/2 cup heavy cream
  • Salt and pepper
  • Green onion tops, chopped
Tip:
Get the grits going and prep all the veggies, meat, etc. first before starting, because this goes really quick!

Step-by-Step:
 Prep the vegetables
I keep frozen diced onions, peppers, etc in my freezer at all times.  This is great for fast dinner prep!  You can still see the ice on the peppers.  The other thing this does is it makes them break down faster while cooking than fresh vegetables.
Tasso ham (see food notes below)
Dice the tasso into small cubes.  
If you look closely at the picture above, you can see the ring of smoke around the edges.   This gives the sauce a wonderful smokiness!
These are the medium-large (41-60 count) shrimp. They should be peeled and deveined.
Cook grits according to package directions, but rather than all water, use half milk, half water.  Season with salt and pepper... stir them a lot to make them creamy; grate the cheese into the grits, stir, and set aside (but keep warm).

Heat oil and butter in a large skillet over medium-high heat. 
Add tasso and saute a couple of minutes until they are crisp.
 Add the diced vegetables and saute until onions are translucent. 
Add the diced garlic and cook another minute.
Add the shrimp and saute for 1 1/2 - 2 minutes, or until pink.
Remove the shrimp from the pan and set aside so they wont over cook.

De-glaze the pan with the white wine and allow to reduce.
 Slowly add in the cream and let it reduce until thickened.  Adjust seasons with salt and pepper.
Add the grits first, to the serving plates.  Add half the shrimp to each plate (10 shrimp per serving). Pour sauce over grits and garnish with fresh green onions.
First, I should give your the analysis of my 12 year old... the flavor was awesome, but the tails on the shrimp were annoying.  He methodically went through and took all of the tails off so he could "just enjoy" them.  If this is your preference, hey - knock yourselves out!  That's what is great about cooking.  

Written Method:
  • Dice the tasso into small cubes.  It is so wonderfully smoky! You could use a highly smoked, seasoned ham to substitute for tasso.
  • Cook grits according to package directions, but rather than all water, use half milk, half water.  Season with salt and pepper... stir them a lot to make them creamy; grate the cheese into the grits, stir, and set aside (but keep warm).
  • Heat oil and butter in a large skillet over medium-high heat.
  • Add tasso and saute a couple of minutes until they are crisp.
  • Add the diced vegetables and saute until onions are translucent.
  • Add the diced garlic and cook another minute.
  • Add the shrimp and saute for 1 1/2 - 2 minutes, or until pink.
  • Remove the shrimp from the pan and set aside so they wont over cook.
  • De-glaze the pan with the white wine and allow to reduce.
  • Slowly add in the cream and let it reduce until thickened.  Adjust seasons with salt and pepper.
  • Add the grits first, to the serving plates.  Add half the shrimp to each plate (10 shrimp per serving). Pour sauce over grits and garnish with fresh green onions.
Food Nerd Notes:
Tasso ham is a specialty of Cajun cuisine.  It is a spicy, peppery version of smoked pork made from the shoulder butt.  Tasso is generally not eaten on its own, but is used as part of a flavor base for stews or braised vegetables.  Appropriate to its roots, tasso is most often found in recipes of southern or Cajun/Creole origin.

If you can't access tasso, you could use andouille sausage or pancetta, or even bacon.  But tasso is HIGHLY seasoned, so if you substitute another meat, you may want to add additional seasoning (Cajun seasoning?) to bump up the spice and seasoning level.


I hope you have enjoyed this recipe.  If you'd like to see more of what we cook around here, please visit my Recipe Index.  There are tons of ideas on there of things you can cook for/with your family.  Here are a few things to pique your curiosity:






3 comments:

  1. This sounds delicious! I haven't made Shrimp & Grits and me and my husband have tried it many places and love it. You've inspired me!

    ReplyDelete
  2. This is an elegant version of this dish and probably the one folks are thinking of when they reminisce on a past experience with it in a fine restaurant.

    The butter can be omitted and non-fat half and half can be used in lieu of the cream.

    To kick it up a notch pan sear the shrimp in light olive oil seasoned Tasso and set aside. Use shallots instead of onion.

    ReplyDelete
  3. I will be try this really soon, looks delicious! I will report back after I make it.

    ReplyDelete

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