Mardi Gras is right around the corner, and there’s no better way to celebrate than with a meal that lets the good times roll. I love this time of year because not only is it festive, but seafood is back in season, too.
This dish reminds me of spending a few years living in New Orleans as a child. I remember going to the family-friendly Mardi Gras parades with my parents, brothers and sisters. My dad built a “viewing tower” for us, which was essentially a wooden bench screwed into the top of a wooden step ladder. I can’t, for the life of me, figure out how they thought that was safe, but at least we were contained and not being trampled by crowds. We’d wave our arms in the air and scream, “Throw me something, mister,” and we’d be pelted with colorful beads, gold coins, plastic trinkets, logo cups and whatever other treasures the crewes were throwing.
I remember it being an exciting, loud time! Now, I just prefer the food to the crowds and chaos.
Mardi Gras Shrimp and Grits
1 lb 26/30 Gulf shrimp, peeled and deveined
1/4 cup red bell pepper
1/4 cup yellow bell pepper
1/4 cup purple onion
1 Tbs lemon juice
2 cloves garlic, crushed
Tony Chachere’s Creole Seasoning, to taste
1 cup heavy cream
1 cup whole milk
2 Tbs butter
1 Tbs flour
2 cups water
1/2 cup instant grits
1 Tbs butter
1 tsp salt
1 tsp black pepper
1/4 cup cheddar cheese, grated
Bring water for grits to a boil over medium-high heat. Add salt, pepper and butter. Stir instant grits. Reduce heat to low, stirring and cooking until most of the liquid is absorbed and it’s your preferred consistency. Stir in cheese; set grits aside.
In a cast-iron skillet over medium heat, warm butter until melted. Add the flour; whisk until a roux has formed. Add peppers and onions; cook for about 5 minutes. Add the cream, and stir until the mixture is blended and creamy. Add the milk and then the lemon juice; whisk to combine well.
Add shrimp, garlic and Tony Chachere’s. Cook, stirring often, for 5 minutes until shrimp is pink and tender. Serve over grits, adding more cheese if necessary.
Nutritional Information: Calories Per Serving: 373, Calories from Fat: 166, Fat: 19 g (11 g Saturated Fat), Cholesterol: 287 mg, Sodium: 1131 mg, Carbohydrates: 20 g, Fiber: 1 g, Sugar: 6 g, Protein: 32 g.
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