I have blogged a WHOLE lot about shrimp and grits. I can’t help myself, I just love me some shrimp and grits! In my quest for the most delicious shrimp and grits I often come across the name Anson Mills. Anson Mills is a South Carolina based company that produces artisan milled goods from organic heirloom grains. They sell things like Carolina gold rice, oats, and grits among a number of other grain products.
One random evening I was on their site and decided to take the plunge and place an order. The prices aren’t cheap but they aren’t that expensive. I mean I’d rather pay $5.95 for 12 oz of Anson Mills grits than $2.99 for 24 oz of the regular supermarket stuff. I ordered coarse grits, quick grits, carolina gold rice, steel cut oats and polenta which came to about $30 before shipping (shipping was another $15 and I shipped to my sis in Chicago to keep costs down). The stuff is so fresh that you have to freeze it immediately. Their products are fresh milled to order. It’s all pretty incredible.
So far I haven’t been disappointed by their products at all. Their steel cut oats are ridiculously easy to prepare and are so much better than other brands of steel cut oats that I’ve tried. The grits cook up creamy and delicious without the need for cream. The rice is also pretty great. Thank heavens I’m moving to the U.S. so that I can order this stuff ALL.THE.TIIME. They do ship to Canada but it is of course pricey.
I stumbled across this recipe on Michael Ruhlman’s site and immediately fell in love at the words “butter-poached”. It just so happened that I had some more Stirling Creamery butter in my freezer so I knew I’d be poaching those shrimp in extra good butter. Charlie Sheen would hashtag this #winning (wait, is #winning still a thing? On that note… where is Charlie Sheen?).
This was the first time I ever poached anything in butter and it felt super indulgent. You make a beurre monté which basically amounts to putting some water in a pan, adding butter and whisking the butter around in an effort to keep it emulsified and not break apart. A pretty cool technique. You then ensure that the butter has reached the right temperature, drop the shrimp and allow the shrimp to cook through. The butter really brings out the sweetness of the shrimp and even imparted a nuttiness to them. In the end you’re left with a bunch of shrimpy butter which is kind of annoying. I saved the butter and have used it in other seafood dishes.
After successfully butter-poaching shrimp I’m now intrigued by what else I can poach in butter. Any suggestions?
Butter-Poached Shrimp and Anson Mills Grits
4 ounces/115 grams bacon, cut into small dice
1 medium onion, cut into small dice
1 1/4 cups/250 grams high-quality stoneground grits
2 cups/480 milliliters milk or homemade vegetable or chicken stock (optional)
Freshly ground black pepper
1 cup/225 grams butter, cut into about 12 chunks
1 pound/455 grams shrimp/prawns, peeled and deveined
4 lemon wedges
Heat a medium saucepan over medium heat and add the bacon and water to cover. Cook until the water has cooked off and then reduce the heat and cook until the bacon is lightly covered and there is enough fat in which to fry the onion. Add the onion with a generous pinch of salt and cook until softened.
Add in the grits along with milk or stock and 2 cups of water (or if not using milk/stock use 4 cups of water). Raise the heat and bring the grits to a simmer. Reduce heat and stir the grits occasionally for about 30 minutes (will depend on the type of grits you’re using). Season with pepper and add more liquid as needed. Continue cooking until the desire texture/consistency is reached.
Once grits are cooked heat 2 tbsp of water in a saucepan to a simmer over medium-high heat. Add in a chunk of butter and whisk until the butter melts. Once the butter has started to melt and emulsify into the water add three more chunks of butter. Once all the butter has been added, dump in the shrimp and stir. You don’t want the butter to boil and want to keep the temperature around 170° to 180°F/77° to 82°C. Cook the shrimp for about 3-5 minutes and be sure to remove a shrimp and cut it open to make sure that it is cooked through.
Reheat the grits and add about a third of the poaching butter to the grits. To serve spoon grits onto a plate and top with shrimp. Feel free to serve with more butter (obvi), freshly ground pepper and/or lemon.
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