GINNA PARSONS: Shrimp dish finishes out the old year

By Ginna Parsons/NEMS Daily Journal

The new year has begun and I have once again embarked on a journey to eat better and move more. But on New Year’s Eve, eating healthfully was the furthest thing from my mind.
My husband and I decided to end the old year with a bang, and we invited another couple over to partake of one of our most decadent recipes: Maverick Grits.
Maverick Grits are actually a jazzed-up version of what most folks call Shrimp and Grits – only they are way better. The recipe, from a restaurant in Charleston, S.C., called Slightly North of Broad (or SNOB), is one we found 10 years ago when we were there for our 10th wedding anniversary.
I can count on one hand the number of times I’ve made this dish and each occasion has been special. It’s not that the recipe is particularly hard or time-consuming – it’s just rich, rich, rich.
Next time you are celebrating a memorable event, give this one a try.

Maverick Grits
Grits
4 cups water
1⁄2 teaspoon salt
2 tablespoons unsalted butter, divided
1 cup stone-ground grits
1⁄4 cup heavy whipping cream

Topping
11⁄2 links chorizo (spicy pork sausage), cut into 1⁄4-inch-thick rounds
4 ounces country ham, diced
2 tablespoons unsalted butter, divided
1⁄4 pound bay scallops
12 large shrimp, peeled, leaving tail fan attached if desired, and deveined
1 clove garlic, minced
1⁄4 cup sliced scallion
2 tomatoes, seeded and diced
1⁄4 cup water
Salt and pepper
Bring water, salt and 1 tablespoon butter to a boil in a 3-quart heavy saucepan. Stir in grits and reduce heat to low. Cook, uncovered, stirring frequently and adding more water as needed, until grits are thick and creamy, about 40 minutes. Remove from heat and stir in cream and remaining tablespoon of butter. Keep warm.
Make the topping 15 minutes before grits are done. Cook chorizo and ham in 1⁄2 tablespoon butter in a 12-inch heavy skillet over moderate heat, stirring, until ham is golden, about 3 minutes. Transfer chorizo and ham to a plate with a slotted spoon. Add 1⁄2 tablespoon butter to skillet and heat until foam subsides. Cook scallops until golden on both sides and just cooked through, about 2 minutes. Transfer scallops to a plate with a slotted spoon. Add another 1⁄2 tablespoon butter to skillet and cook shrimp, turning, until just cooked through, about 3 minutes. Stir in chorizo, ham, scallops, remaining 1⁄2 tablespoon butter, and remaining ingredients. Cook, stirring and scraping up any brown bits in skillet, until heated through, then season with salt and pepper.
Divide grits among four bowls and spoon topping over each serving.
Serves 4.
Ginna Parsons is the Daily Journal’s food/home/garden editor.