What up y’all. As we wrapped up the shrimp and grits episode, I had to drive back down to Kenner. It’s a good drive, full of love bugs that wanted to stay with me (they are still on the grill of my car). But it gave me time to contemplate the day’s events. What you saw/ see in the clips weren’t images that we concocted, weren’t scripts written up to try to portray something that we think is a cool thing, they were simply how many of us spend our days. We would spend more days like this if time, money, and a great back yard, were no issue. It was a scenario where my Godchild Ellis was having his last tee ball game of the season. It was a time where I was off work and so was one of my brothers. It was an opportunity for me to catch up with a guy that I hadn’t spent real time with in the better part of the last decade. When these things present themselves to you; what do you do?
It’s a passion. It’s something you give your best efforts to. You want to put your best foot forward and show those you care about how proud you are of a craft that you have worked on. The table fare does not need to be fancy. It does not have to be gourmet. It doesn’t need to even be store bought. It simply needs to be prepared in a way that tells the story and leaves your mark. Music can help tell that story. Spice can tell that story. Your brand of beer can tell that story. I think if we sit back and remember our best moments, it’s not particularly the story that was told, but the person that told it.
Much love homies, till the next one, gate on. -Chef Nic
For that “Bed of Grits”:
Yellow or White stone ground grits 2c
Whole Milk 8c
Butter salted 1 stick
Cream Cheese 1 pack 8oz
Cheddar Cheese 8 oz
Salt and fresh cracked pepper to taste
In a 5 qt heavy bottom pot, non-stick is best, bring 8 cups of milk to a boil. Be sure to stir frequently to prevent scorching and film from forming.
Once milk begins to boil vigorously whisk in grits and continue stirring until the pot comes back to a boil.
Once boiling, reduce to low heat and stir off and on for 30 mins.
After that point, take off heat and incorporate the butter first, then cream cheese, then cheddar cheese. Once all cheeses have been melted taste for salt and pepper.
Keep a lid and will hold for 2 hours.
For the Shrimp Gravy “A Beautiful Thing”:
3 pounds shrimp. Any size you like. Shell on, reserve for stock
2 green bell pepper
2 yellow bell pepper
2 red bell pepper
2 vidalia onion
2 ribs of celery
6 bay leaves
Peppercorns for stock 2 T
Rosemary for stock 4 inch pc
Thyme for stock 4 inch pc
6 cloves of garlic, reserve half for gremolata
Olive oil for stock
Butter for roux 1 stick
Flour for roux 1 cup
Pork Tasso 1 pack
Green onion 1 bunch
Parsley ½ bunch
Once all vegetables are diced, combine in a mixing bowl. Keep garlic aside. In a stock pot lightly brown half of the vegetables then add shrimp heads and shells, cover with water, and add the rosemary, thyme, half of the bay leaves, garlic, and peppercorns. Cook for 30 minutes then strain into a container.
In a cast iron skillet on med to high heat, melt one stick of butter and stir constantly as to not brown the butter. If heat is too high, remove from heat and stir. Once butter is melted, add flour and stir as to not have lumps. Stir on med to high heat until the proper darkness is reached. The lighter the roux, the more thickening agents you will have, but the darker the roux, the more depth of flavor you will have. Once you are near chocolate brown, add half of the remaining vegetables, no garlic, and take off heat while still stirring rapidly. Reserve your roux for thickening the sauce.
In a separate cast iron skillet, brown the tasso until its crispy. You may need to add some oil or butter if no fat is rendering. Remove from heat and take out the tasso onto a drain plate. Add remaining vegetables to the skillet and put on high heat. Keep garlic separate. Scrape the bottom of the skillet to remove all graton from the tasso. Once the vegetables have been cooked down to translucent, add garlic, seasoning, and shrimp stock. About 4 cups. Once everything is incorporated and up to a boil, add shrimp. Once shrimp becomes pink, add roux in parts as to not lump. Once all roux has been added, bring to a boil one last time then cut off heat. Taste for salt and pepper. Squeeze one half of a lemon and stir in.
For Tasso Gremolata “Da Good Stuff”:
To the rendered and crispy tasso, add finely chopped garlic, green onion, parsley, and the zest of one lemon. Toss together and garnish the shrimp dish….So good.