Weigl: Another go-to shrimp and grits recipe

aweigl@newsobserver.comOctober 9, 2012 

  • Dajio’s Shrimp and Grits From Chef Doug Eifert of Dajio’s in Ocracoke. 18 slices of bacon 3 diced yellow onions 1 cup diced red pepper 1 cup diced yellow pepper 1/4 cup chopped garlic 1 1/2 cups chopped green onion 1/2 cup flour 4 cups chicken stock Salt and pepper, to taste 4 dozen (51-60 count) shrimp, peeled Tabasco sauce, to taste Juice of one lemon Cheese grits (recipe below) CHOP bacon and fry it in a saucepan over medium heat. Add yellow onion, peppers and garlic and cook until translucent. Add green onion and cook for 1 minute more. ADD flour and stir until the flour is lightly browned. Do not let it burn. Add chicken stock, stirring with a whisk to combine thoroughly. Bring to a boil and simmer. Season with salt and pepper to taste. SEASON shrimp with Tabasco and lemon juice. Cook for a few minutes in the sauce. Serve immediately over cheese grits. Yield: 6-8 servings
  • Cheese Grits The chef uses clarified butter; but you can substitute with regular butter. From Chef Doug Eifert of Dajio’s in Ocracoke. 8 cups chicken stock 2 cups grits 1 pound shredded Manchego cheese Salt and pepper to taste 1 stick butter BRING stock to a boil and slowly stir in grits. Reduce heat and cover. Cook for 6 minutes, stirring continuously. When done, stir in cheese and mix well. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Stir in butter. Yield: 4 servings

My colleague, Kathleen Purvis, wrote last month about how shrimp and grits was the ubiquitous Southern dish at the catered events during the Democratic National Convention in Charlotte.

That got me thinking about how I recently broke my rule regarding shrimp and grits: I don’t order it at restaurants.

My philosophy is that I don’t order anything I can make better at home. Now I’m not bragging about my shrimp and grits recipe since it isn’t mine. The credit goes to Sheri Castle, a Chapel Hill cookbook author and cooking instructor. Her version is so good that I’ve written before about how my family and friends request it so often that I don’t visit them without packing the recipe in my suitcase.

Well, you know where this is going. I was on vacation at Ocracoke last month. Between the ocean air and the Yuenglings, I let my guard down and ordered the shrimp and grits at Dajio Restaurant. I was wooed by this phrase on the menu describing the dish: “savory bacon gravy.”

I’m so glad I broke my rule. It was the best shrimp and grits I ever ordered at a restaurant. (My apologies to the late Bill Neal, who made the lowcountry dish famous at Crook’s Corner in Chapel Hill.)

I called the restaurant and asked for the recipe. Chef Doug Eifert was gracious enough to share. Eifert runs Dajio with his wife, Judy. The couple owned a restaurant in Lexington, Ky., until 2009, when they fulfilled a dream and moved to Ocracoke. (The restaurant’s name stands for “Doug and Judy in Ocracoke.”)

Not only do I have a new shrimp and grits recipe to impress my family and friends, but I may just have to give up my rule.

To see printable versions of the recipes, click on the names below:

Dajio’s Shrimp and Grits

Cheese Grits

Weigl: 919-829-4848 or aweigl@newsobserver.com

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