Sunday Shrimp n’ Grits

Daylight savings time gave us an extra hour to spend this morning, and gave me the chance to make an extra special brunch to share. I have been eating a lot of shrimp since I have moved to Florida, and I’ve been having a shrimp n’ grits craving for weeks! I wanted to make something that really brought out the flavor of the ridiculously fresh shrimp we have here, and making a quick broth from the shells does a twofold job of adding loads of shrimp flavor while helping to moisten the grits and bring the whole dish together. I couldn’t resist the crab claws at the market, so I added them as well. Using the freshest seafood I could find meant that our brunch wasn’t overpoweringly fishy and instead smelled like the ocean and tasted delicate and light. Depending on where you are and what day it is, other types of crab or other sizes of shrimp might look more fresh–always go with those! Getting the freshest ingredients possible and not overcooking them (easy to do with shrimp) are the most important things about this dish.

For the shrimp:
1/2 lb 21-25 ct shrimp
2 stone crab claws
1 tsp smoked paprika
1 tbsp unsalted butter
10 peppercorns
1 tsp fennel seeds
2 slices of preserve lemon (can substitute half a fresh lemon–just make sure to include the zest!)
1/2 tsp sea salt
1 tsp extra virgin olive oil

-Peel the shrimp but keep the shells. Put them, along with spices, salt, and crab claws, into a large skillet with 1 1/2 cups water and bring to a boil.
-Cover and simmer for 10-12 minutes. Meanwhile, devein the shrimp (by cutting along the middle of the back and pulling out the ‘vein’), and make the grits (see below).
-Using a fine mesh strainer, strain the shells and spices from the broth and into a bowl. Set aside.
-Return the pan to the heat, wait about a minute, and add the olive oil.
-Add the shrimp and crab claws to the pan and cook over medium heat for 1-2 minutes.
-Flip the shrimp and return the broth to the pan. Make sure to scrape the bottom with a spoon to deglaze.
-After 1 more minute, remove the shrimp and claws and distribute on two bowls of grits.
-Add the butter to the pan and melt into the broth.
-Pour the broth over the shrimp and grits and serve.

For the grits
1 c grits
2 c water
1/2 tbsp butter
1/2 tsp salt

-Add water to a saucepan. Add salt and bring to a boil.
-Add grits and cook, stirring frequently, until all the water is absorbed.
-Stir in butter and spoon the grits into two bowls.

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