Our first shrimp and “grits” (we use that term loosely) recipe is what got the whole notion of writing a cookbook started. While we liked our first attempt, we also like reinventing recipes every now and then. The grits in this recipe have more almond meal and less cauliflower than in our original, and we actually took bacon out of the shrimp recipe. We know, that may detract points with some of you, but we think you’ll be happy even without the salty, bacony goodness. The shrimp recipe is thanks in part to chef Chris Hall.
SERVES 6 TO 8 AS A MAIN COURSE / PREP TIME: 15 MINUTES / TOTAL TIME: 30 MINUTES
FOR THE “GRITS”
1 cup chicken stock, store-bought or homemade
1 cup almond meal (see Notes)
4 cups riced cauliflower
FOR THE SHRIMP
2 tablespoons oil (olive, coconut, or avocado)
½ medium sweet onion, diced
1 red bell pepper, diced
1 green bell pepper, diced
2 cloves garlic, minced
2 pounds shrimp, peeled and deveined
1 teaspoon hot sauce (optional; we like Frank’s)
1 cup heavy cream or coconut milk
Juice of 2 lemons
2 tablespoons Old Bay seasoning (see Notes)
Salt and black pepper
1. To make the grits: In a medium saucepan, combine the stock and 2 cups water. Bring to a boil over high heat.
2. Slowly pour in the almond meal, whisking to keep lumps from forming.
3. Stir in the cauliflower and bring the mixture to a simmer. Simmer, stirring frequently, for about 10 minutes, until the cauliflower is softened and you have a creamy grits-like consistency. Cover and keep warm until ready to serve.
4. To make the shrimp: In a large saucepan, heat the oil over medium-high heat. When the oil is shimmering, add the onion and bell peppers and cook until they begin to soften, 3 to 4 minutes. Add the garlic and cook for 1 minute. Add the shrimp and sauté until they just begin to turn pink.
5. Deglaze the pan with the hot sauce (if using) and heavy cream. Add the lemon juice and Old Bay, and season with salt and black pepper to taste. Serve over the “grits.”
NOTES: Almond meal is typically coarser than almond flour and usually involves the skins of the almonds. In this recipe you want the almond meal to be coarse, so using finely ground almond flour would not achieve the same result. Should you need to be nut-free, you can omit the almond meal and just use all cauliflower with a 1:1 ratio.
Old Bay seasoning is a staple in many kitchens across the country, especially those in the Mid-Atlantic area. The exact Old Bay recipe is evidently top secret, and while making a suitable substitute is possible, it would require about 18 or so herbs and spices (according to McCormick, the manufacturer of Old Bay). Instead, if you don’t have Old Bay, use 1 tablespoon celery salt, and pinches of black pepper, paprika, and mustard powder.