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Shrimp & Rice Grits with
Basil & Lemon Oil

One of the great pleasures of traveling around the United States is encountering new ingredients. Rice grits have a long history in the Southern states where these remnants of the polishing process of rice were given to slaves and poor sharecroppers as a cheap means of sustenance. They have gone out of fashion now and are almost unknown outside of states like Alabama and Mississippi. They are versatile, however, and can be used as an interesting alternative to traditional corn grits. This dish, with the addition of a bright zingy basil oil, is definitely worth giving a try.

Simon Majumdar's Shrimp and Rice Grits Recipe

Shrimp & Rice Grits with Basil & Lemon Oil Recipe


Serves: 4




For The Grits:

  • 1 Cup of Rice Grits

  • 3 Cups of Water or Stock (or a combination of the two)

  • 1 Tsp Salt

  • 1 Tsp Freshly Ground Black Pepper

  • ½ Cup Grated Pecorino Cheese (Parmesan will do as a substitute)

  • ¼ Stick Unsalted Butter

  • ¼ Cup Heavy Cream (or Half & Half)



For The Shrimp:

  • 20 x 15-20 Count Shrimp

  • 1 Shallot (Finely Diced)

  • 2 Cloves Garlic (Finely Diced)

  • 1 Stick Celery (Finely Diced)

  • 2 Plum Tomatoes (De-seeded and finely diced)

  • 1 Serrano Chili (De-seeded and minced)

  • ¼ Cup White Wine

  • ¼ Cup Parsley (Finely Chopped)

  • Salt & Pepper to Taste

  • ¼ Cup Olive Oil



For The Basil Oil:

  • 2 Bunches of Basil (Leaves Only)

  • 2 Lemons (Zest Only)

  • 1 Cup Olive Oil

  • ¼ Cup Canola Oil






For The Grits:

  1. Bring the stock (or water) to a rolling boil in a saucepan.

  2. Whisk in the rice grits.

  3. Reduce the heat and allow to simmer in the water until the rice grits have become creamy and lost their graininess. The time this takes depends on the grits, but is usually about 20 minutes.

  4. Add the cream, the Pecorino cheese and the salt and pepper and cook for a further 5 minutes on a gentle heat.

  5. When the grits are ready, stir in the butter.



For The Shrimp:

  1. Add the olive oil to a frying pan and bring to temperature.

  2. Add the shallots, the celery, the Serrano chili and the garlic, season with a pinch of salt and cook until the shallots have softened.

  3. Add the tomatoes and cook on a gentle heat for 5 minutes until they begin to break down.

  4. Add the white wine and cook for a further 5 minutes.

  5. Add the shrimp and cover the pan. Cook for a further five minutes or until the shrimp have turned from grey to pink.

  6. Remove the cover from the pan and sprinkle over the chopped parsley.

  7. Season with salt and pepper to taste.



For the Basil Oil:

  1. Place the basil leaves, the lemon zest and the oils in a blender and blitz to a fine puree.

  2. Strain the contents of the puree through cheesecloth into a small saucepan.

  3. Heat over a very gentle heat for five minutes and strain again.

  4. Place in a dispensing bottle and chill until needed.



To Serve:

  1. I always serve this dish in a wide soup dish.

  2. Place a bed of grits on the bottom of the plate.

  3. Arrange 4-5 shrimp on top of the grits and top with the sauce.

  4. Drizzle the basil oil around the edge of the grits and garnish with more chopped parsley.



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