In Big Bad Breakfast, John Currence shares some of the southern breakfast recipes that make his Mississippi restaurant a national destination.
We now have several versions of shrimp and grits at our restaurants, which are all tried and true, and we have customers who hotly debate which one is best. I will always be a fan of City Grocery’s version, slightly more purist and simple, but this one from Big Bad Breakfast is a very close and extremely fun second.
- Warm the clarified butter and bacon fat in a sauté pan over medium heat for 30 seconds. Add the shrimp and spread them out in an even layer in the pan. Season immediately with salt and black pepper and cook, stirring constantly, until they just begin to turn opaque, about 1 minute. Add the garlic and bacon and cook, stirring, until warmed through and the garlic becomes fragrant, about 30 seconds. Add the tomato, season lightly with salt and pepper, and cook, stirring, for 1 minute more. Add the lemon juice and stir to combine.
- To serve, divide the grits between 2 plates, top with a poached egg, and spoon the shrimp over the egg. Ladle the gravy over the top and sprinkle with the green onion. Serve immediately.
- Warm the bacon fat in a large sauté pan over medium heat for 45 seconds. Add the country ham and cook until browned, stirring, about 2 minutes. Deglaze the pan with the coffee, scraping any crusty bits of ham stuck to the bottom of the pan loose with a wooden spoon. Add the stock, sugar, and red pepper flakes, and bring to a simmer over medium heat. Mix the cornstarch with the cool water in a small cup and then stir into the simmering gravy. Simmer until bubbles thicken slightly, about 5 minutes. Serve hot.
- Combine the milk and stock in a saucepan and bring to a boil over high heat. Stir in the grits and salt. Turn the heat to low and simmer, stirring constantly, until the grits are tender and cooked all the way through, about 15 minutes. Remove from the heat and immediately stir in the butter, Parmesan, and garlic until fully combined. Season with salt and pepper. Serve immediately or hold warm for up to 30 minutes and serve.
- If the grits sit for very long (longer than about 30 minutes), they will get stiff. Just add a little warm milk, water, or stock and stir until well blended. Taste for seasoning each time you add more liquid. By following this method, you can bring grits back to life hours after cooking them without compromising their integrity.
Reprinted with permission from Big Bad Breakfast by John Currence, copyright © 2016.
Big Bad Breakfast