Specialty of the House

A lavish twist on a Lowcountry dish

ggcox@bellsouth.netJuly 21, 2012 

  • Fearrington Granary Shrimp and Grits For the parmesan sauce: 2 large onions, sliced 4 garlic cloves, minced 3 cups white wine 4 cups heavy cream 1 cup grated parmesan cheese Salt and pepper, to taste Zest of 1 orange SWEAT onions and garlic in a saucepan over medium heat until soft and translucent but not browned. ADD wine, turn up heat to high and cook until reduced by half. Add cream and parmesan and continue to cook until reduced to 4 cups of sauce. PUREE sauce in a blender or food processor, working in batches if necessary. Caution: Do not fill blender or food processor more than halfway, and be sure lid is firmly in place to prevent hot liquid from erupting. Pass sauce through a sieve, adjust seasoning with salt and pepper, and stir in orange zest. Keep warm until ready to serve or chill. For the grits: 1 cup vegetable stock 2 cups whole milk 1/2 large onion, finely diced 2 garlic cloves, minced 1 cup grits Salt, to taste HEAT stock and milk to a simmer in a saucepan over medium heat. Keep warm. SWEAT onion and garlic together in a large heavy-bottomed pot (a Dutch oven works well) over medium heat until soft but not browned. Add two-thirds of the hot milk mixture, then whisk in the grits. LOWER heat slightly and cook until grits are tender (time can vary widely, from 5 minutes for “quick” grits to 40 minutes for stone-ground). If grits begin to get too thick while cooking, add remaining milk mixture as necessary. Adjust seasoning and keep warm. For the shrimp: 1/2 cup red onion, finely diced 1 cup diced mixed bell peppers (red, yellow and green) 8 slices bacon, cooked and chopped 1 cup andouille sausage, cooked and diced (medium dice) 1/2 cup heavy cream 24 large shrimp, peeled and deveined, tails removed 4 tablespoons chopped parsley SWEAT onion and peppers on medium heat until soft. Add the chopped bacon, andouille, cream and 3 cups of the parmesan sauce. ADD shrimp, reduce heat and cook just until shrimp turn pink, about 3 minutes. Stir in chopped parsley. For the garnish: 1/2 cup finely diced tomatoes 8 green onions, thinly sliced 1/2 cup grated parmesan cheese DIVIDE grits among four serving bowls. Spoon parmesan sauce with shrimp over grits, making sure each bowl gets 6 shrimps. Top with remaining 1 cup parmesan sauce. GARNISH with diced tomato, green onion and grated parmesan. Serve immediately. Yield: 4 servings

My friend, a connoisseur of shrimp and grits, and I think the Granary at Fearrington Village does them the absolute best. I have eaten them at the Granary for brunch, lunch and dinner, and would love to fix them for my brother and his wife when they visit from Arizona. Please see if you can get this recipe.

Linda Taylor

Fearrington Village

Offering a casual alternative to the acclaimed Fearrington House, the Granary is part of this collection of posh shops and residences in the rolling hills south of Chapel Hill. The Village’s genteel country charm – including a neighboring pasture with trademark belted Galloway cows – has made it a popular destination for everything from Sunday brunch to weddings.

Another major attraction is the food. In the three years since Colin Bedford took over as executive chef at Fearrington House, he has firmly established himself as one of the area’s premier culinary talents. That’s not surprising, given that Bedford’s star-studded resume spans the globe from the Castle Hotel in his native Somerset County, England, to The Prince of Wales Hotel in Ontario, Canada.

Judging by the chef’s take on shrimp and grits, his travels have taught him how to adapt to local customs. While decidedly more lavish than most, the Granary’s version remains true to the spirit of this classic Southern dish.

“We tried to make it our own, which at Fearrington means making it a little more indulgent,” Bedford said. “We use both bacon and andouille, and we cook the grits in milk and vegetable stock for a richer flavor. We even add a little extra sauce so you still have some when you get to the bottom of the grits.”

The result is a winning formula. Initially offered only for brunch, the Granary’s shrimp and grits proved so popular that the dish is now available for lunch and dinner as well.

Asked if he’d like to suggest any variations, Bedford replied: “We have a lot of regular customers from the Village, and they’re creatures of habit. If I tried to change that recipe, I’d be hunted down and shot.”

He’s exaggerating, of course. Still, it gives the phrase “to die for” a whole new meaning, doesn’t it?

Specialty of the House gets recipes for local restaurant dishes. Send requests, including your name and city, to Specialty of the House, c/o The News & Observer, P.O. Box 191, Raleigh, N.C. 27602 or e-mail ggcox@bellsouth.net.

For a printable copy of this recipe, click the link:

Fearrington Granary Shrimp and Grits

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