How to sum up moving from a 600 square foot apartment to a real house with a real yard?
It feels like we have so much space. But, there is also so much space to organize and arrange. The farmers market trips have been somewhat taken over by trips to Home Depot where I seem to spend countless hours looking at paint samples. At this point I am fairly certain that I have brought home nearly every sample color from the store and stuck it to some wall somewhere in the house.
The paint selection is not to be bested by the furniture selection. Hours upon hours have been spent thinking about, discussing, and analyzing colors and fabric choices for a new couch. In the end, we went with the exact fabric and complimentary pillows which were on display in the store.
In between all of this, I did find some time to stop by the Wednesday morning Oakton Farmers Market and whip together a delicious farmers market fresh dinner for John and I.
Shrimp and grits has become one of my favorite southern dishes to prepare. I can't say that the various versions I've made are particularly authentic, but their deliciousness is perfectly in tact.
When a farmer at the Oakton Farmers Market gave me a great deal on a large container of tomatillos, I decided to get creative and use them with some local heirloom tomatoes to make a wonderful salsa for our shrimp and grits.
Without further ado, here is the recipe.
Shrimp and Grits with a Roasted Tomatillo and Heirloom Tomato Salsa
- 1/2 tomato (preferably heirloom), cut into large chunks
- 8 small tomatillos, husks removed and halved
- 1/2 cup red onion, thickly sliced (divided into two 1/4 cup portions)
- 1 garlic clove, thickly sliced
- salt and pepper to taste
- olive oil (2 TB)
- lemon juice (1 tsp)
- 1 cup of chicken stock
- 1 cup of half and half
- 6 TB grits
- 3 ounces of smoked gouda or smoked cheddar, grated
- 1/2 tsp smoked paprika
- 8-10 large shrimp
- dash of smoked paprika
- 1 garlic clove, smashed then minced
- Optional garnishes: diced tomato and sliced scallions
Making the salsa (Note: This step can be made up to one day in advance; simply store in the fridge.)
Preheat the oven to 375F. In the meantime, prepare a large sheet pan with parchment paper. Place the tomato chunks, tomatillo halves, 1/4 cup of the onion slices, the garlic slices, olive oil, salt and pepper on the sheet pan. Toss together to coat the ingredients with the olive oil and seasoning.
Place in the oven and roast for 30-40 minutes, until the ingredients are nicely caramelized.
Remove from the oven. Process in a blender with 1 teaspoon of fresh lemon juice until the mixture is smooth. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Set aside until the shrimp and grits are finished.
Making the grits
Heat the chicken stock and half and half in a medium sauce pan to almost boiling. Add the grits and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat to medium-low. Cover and cook for 12-14 minutes until thickened, stirring occasionally. Add the smoked cheddar cheese and paprika and stir until the cheese is fully incorporated-- about 1 minute.
*If you finish the grits before everything else is ready, you can remove them from the heat and cover the surface with plastic wrap (to prevent a skin from forming). When ready, reheat over low heat stirring occasionally.
Making the shrimp
Prepare the shrimp by peeling and deveining them. Toss the shrimp with salt, pepper and smoked paprika.
Heat a large frying pan over medium heat. Add one tablespoon of olive oil to the pan and saute the remaining 1/4 cup onions with the smashed garlic. When the onions have begun to caramelize (7-10 minutes), remove from the pan. If necessary, add a little extra olive oil to the pan to prevent the shrimp from sticking. Increase the heat to medium-high.
Cook the shrimp for 2-3 minutes on each side, until they are golden brown. Add the onions and garlic back to the pan. Season to taste.
Putting it all together
Spoon the cheesy grits into each bowl. Place the shrimp and onion mixture on top, then drizzle with the roasted tomatillo and heirloom tomato salsa. If desired, garnish with chopped green onions and diced tomato.