I would have been surprised if you’d told me prior to shooting this dish that it would turn out to easily be one of the most lovely and photogenic things I’ve ever made. It looked perfect. Perhaps it’s the oft-used “ n’ ” that makes this dish seem like it should be more casual (as in ‘shrimp n’ grits’), but I just did not realize how strikingly beautiful this would turn out. Who would have thought that a bowl of, essentially mush, would clean up so nicely? Part of this rests on topping the whole thing with a lovely egg, which, because you’ve read this far and I like you, I’ll share with you the secret to making a sunny side-up egg that doesn’t have that little opaque ring of boogery mucus around the yolk. Are you ready? Use a little basting brush or small spoon to carefully dribble hot oil/butter (whatever fat you’re cooking in) only along that ring, neatly avoiding the yolk as any spills will speckle it white. This cooks the boogers, turning them into perfectly acceptable egg whites. Aren’t you lucky to have gotten that nifty little bonus secret?
BA’s Best: Shrimp and Grits w/ Andouille Sausage
Taken directly from BA’s Best arsenal, with some tweaking here and there
1 cup yellow grits (not instant)
1 cup grated, aged white cheddar cheese
3 tbsp unsalted butter, divided
1 jalapeño, seeded and diced
¼ cup heavy (whipping) cream + more for thinning
1 tbsp olive oil + more for egg-frying
1 fat, uncooked andouille sausage, crumbled and casing discarded
3 cloves of garlic, sliced thinly
16 large shrimp (~1 lb), peeled and preferably deveined (I like leaving just the tails on!)
¼ cup beer (preferably something lighter – nothing too hoppy or dark)
¼ cup chicken stock
4 large eggs
Fresh tarragon, chopped, for garnishing
Bring 3 cups of water to a simmer in a large saucepan. Gradually whisk in the grits, then turn the heat down to low, and gently simmer to allow the grits to thicken. Stir the grits vigourously every few minutes to avoid sticking and burning to the pan. Cook the grits until they are tender, anywhere from 30-60 minutes, adding water by ¼-cupfuls if the grits become very thick. I wound up adding about another full cup of water during cooking as mine thickened quite quickly. Stir in the cheese, 1 tbsp butter, and jalapeño. Whisk in the cream and season VERY generously with kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper. For real – grits are bland AF on their own, they need PLENTY of salt. Season and taste, then season again as needed. Keep the grits warm off the heat until ready to serve.
While the grits cook, heat the olive oil in a large heavy skillet over medium heat. Add the crumbled andouille sausage to the skillet and sauté until the fat begins to render, ~5 minutes. Add the garlic and 1 tbsp butter, stirring until the butter melts. Add the shrimp. Once the garlic begins to take on colour (after a minute or 2), add the beer and chicken stock. Simmer until the shrimp is cooked through (pink on all sides), which should only take a couple of minutes. Remove the skillet from the heat, then season to taste. The shrimp will definitely need a bit of salt, but be sure to taste as andouille can also add quite a kick of salt on its own.
Right before serving, loosen up the grits over low heat by adding the last tbsp of butter and a splash or more of cream. Quickly heat some oil and fry up your eggs (sunny side-up or over-easy, whatever you like) prior to assembling everything. Divide the grits into 4 shallow bowls, forming a well in the centre. Spoon the warm shrimp-sausage mixture into the wells and drizzle with the pan sauces (I like to run the sauce all along the edge of the grits, like a little moat). Top with fried eggs and sprinkle with chopped tarragon. Eat unhealthily fast.