Bacon-Wrapped Gulf Shrimp with Creamy White Cheddar Grits, Crispy Spinach and a Sweet Spicy Tomato Jam

TOTAL TIME: 41 min
Prep: 20 min
Inactive Prep: 10 min
Cook: 11 min
 
YIELD: 6 servings
LEVEL: Intermediate

ingredients

  • 18 strips bacon
  • 18 jumbo shrimp (16-20's) about 1 1/4 pounds
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons Essence, recipe follows
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 1 recipe Cheesy Grits, recipe follows
  • 1 recipe Fried Spinach, recipe follows
  • 1 recipe Tomato Jam, recipe follows
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Directions

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.

Cut 2 inches off of each strip of bacon and reserve the short pieces for another use. Place the trimmed strips of bacon on a sheet pan and bake the bacon until slightly pink and some of the fat has rendered out of it, about 6 minutes. While the bacon is cooking, peel the shrimp, leaving the tails attached. Devein and set aside, refrigerated, until ready to use.

Remove the pan from the oven and allow the bacon to cool. Once the bacon is cool enough to handle, season the shrimp with the Essence and wrap a strip of the parcooked bacon around each shrimp, slightly overlapping the bacon as you twist it around the shrimp. Set aside and repeat with the remaining shrimp and bacon slices.

Set a 12-inch saute pan over medium heat, and add the olive oil to the pan. Once the oil is hot, lay the shrimp in the pan and cook for 2 1/2 minutes. Turn the shrimp over and cook another 2 1/2 minutes.

Serve the shrimp over the top of Cheesy Grits and garnish with the Fried Spinach. Drizzle the Tomato Jam decoratively over each plate.
Emeril's ESSENCE Creole Seasoning (also referred to as Bayou Blast):
2 1/2 tablespoons paprika
2 tablespoons salt
2 tablespoons garlic powder
1 tablespoon black pepper
1 tablespoon onion powder
1 tablespoon cayenne pepper
1 tablespoon dried oregano
1 tablespoon dried thyme

Combine all ingredients thoroughly.

Yield: 2/3 cup

Recipe from "New New Orleans Cooking", by Emeril Lagasse and Jessie Tirsch, published by William and Morrow, 1993.
Cheesy Grits:
6 cups water
1 1/2 teaspoons salt
1 1/2 cups quick cooking or old-fashioned grits (not instant)
2 cups milk
1 cup heavy cream
8 tablespoons butter
1/2 teaspoon fresh cracked black pepper
1 1/2 cups shredded white Cheddar
In a large, heavy saucepan bring the water to a boil. Add a generous teaspoon of salt and the grits and stir with a wooden spoon to combine. When the grits thicken, add the milk, cream and butter and return to a boil. Reduce the heat to a simmer, cover the saucepan and cook for 45 minutes to 1 hour, or until the grits are tender, smooth and creamy. Taste and season the grits with the remaining salt and pepper. (If the grits seem too runny simply allow to cook a bit longer, uncovered and stirring frequently, until the desired consistency is reached.) Fold the cheese into the grits, and keep covered and warm until ready to use.

Prep Time: 5 minutes
Cook Time: 45 minutes
Fried Spinach:
1/2 pound baby spinach
Salt and pepper

Preheat a fryer or large Dutch oven half-filled with vegetable oil to 350 degrees F. Place the spinach in the oil and fry until dark green and crispy, 30 to 45 seconds. Remove from the oil and place on a paper-lined sheet pan and season with salt and pepper. Set aside until ready to use.

Prep Time: 5 minutes
Cook Time: 1 minute
Tomato Jam:
1 cup peeled, seeded and chopped tomatoes
1/2 cup rice wine vinegar
2 tablespoons sugar
1 tablespoon light corn syrup
1 tablespoon honey
2 teaspoons minced garlic
1/4 teaspoon toasted, ground coriander

Combine all the ingredients in a small saucepan and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to a simmer and cook, stirring occasionally, until most of the liquid has evaporated, about 20 minutes. Remove the pan from the heat and allow to cool to room temperature before serving.

Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 25 minutes

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