Shrimp with Crab Grits

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I recently went to a fantastic restaurant in Maryland with my daughter and youngest son. We were doing an overnight visit with baby girl so I treated us all to dinner. The restaurant was eclectic with modern tables, a small library of books to purchase, great artwork, a stage for poetry readings and wonderful service. The crowd was diverse and so was the food.

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I was amazed at the variety of dishes on the small menu which had a basic organic theme but offered foods anyone could enjoy. I decided to try a shrimp dish that was layered over crab grits and smothered in a light sauce with crisp veggies. After the first bite I knew I would have to try and re-create this dish when I got home.

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What I created does not taste exactly like the wonderful dish in Maryland but it comes pretty close. The key was to make sure each layer of flavor complimented the next. The grits were nice and creamy with the subtle hint of crab. The veggies were crisp and naturally sweet. The shrimp added their own layer of flavor along with an underlying level of spicy heat just enough to make your taste buds tingle. Although I used jumbo shrimp for the recipe, I think scallops or a nice grilled fillet of salmon or cod would be enjoyable too.

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Shrimp with Crab Grits

Ingredients:
1 lb lump crab meat shelled
2 shallots diced
2 cloves garlic sliced
1 tomato seeded diced
1 cup coarsely ground grits
1 cup thin asparagus chopped
2 cups water
¼ cup heavy cream
½ cup half and half
2 tbsp butter
2 tbsp olive oil
1 tsp fresh parsley
1 tsp salt
1 tsp black pepper
juice from ½ lemon
Bring water and 1 teaspoon of salt to a boil. Stir in half and half then add grits and reduce to medium heat. Cook until thick and tender approximately 15 to 20 minutes. Add cheese and stir until melted and well blended. Gently stir in crab and try not to break up the lumps of meat. Set aside and keep warm. Add a little milk if needed to thin out grits.

In a medium pan melt 1 tbsp butter with 1 tbsp olive oil. When heated add shrimp and sprinkle with salt, pepper and lemon juice. Cook until shrimp are pink and remove from heat. Set aside.

In a large pan saute shallots in olive oil and 1 tbsp butter until slightly browned. Stir in garlic then add asparagus, tomatoes, parsley and seasonings. Let simmer for 3 minutes then remove from heat.

Place grits into a bowl then spoon veggie mixture over the grits. Top with shrimp and sprinkle a little fresh parsley over the top. Yummy!

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