Several months ago, I received an email from a reader asking for the shrimp and goat cheese grits recipe from Weathervane restaurant at Southern Season in Chapel Hill. Soon after, a computer glitch relieved me of 3,000 emails, including the original recipe request. By that point, I was already on the trail of the recipe. Even though I cant credit the reader who asked for it, I thank her for her request here, as will you when you taste this delectable dish.
In the three years that chef Ryan Payne has been the executive chef at Southern Seasons Weathervane restaurant, its shrimp and grits has undergone many transformations. Hes served it with tasso ham and barbecue sauce. Hes done a version finished with a smoked tomato butter. Hes even ventured into Creole territory with blackened shrimp and andouille sausage.
Why? Payne explained: Number one, I get bored with it. Number two, it revitalizes a dish.
The version on the menu right now is a favorite of the restaurants diners: shrimp with succotash and bacon jam served over goat cheese grits.
This is the most popular version Ive done here, said Payne, director of culinary operations for Southern Season, which recently has opened a store and restaurant in Charleston. Payne added: Ive gotten very good reviews in Charleston, which is a shrimp and grits town.
If youre not a fan of goat cheese, Payne suggests substituting Boursin cheese or cream cheese.
If you want to taste this recipe at the restaurant, you need to visit before the spring, when Paynes successor will likely introduce a new version.
PLACE water and milk in a large Dutch oven over medium-high heat. Add butter, salt and pepper. Bring to a boil. Stir in grits, turn heat to low and continue to cook, stirring occasionally, for 30 minutes.
ADD more water, 1/4 cup as needed, if the grits absorb all the liquid but aren’t fully cooked. Add goat cheese in final 10 minutes of cooking and stir to combine. Reduce heat to low and let sit on the stove until ready to serve.
HEAT oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add shrimp and saute 2 to 3 minutes. Add black-eyed peas, corn, scallions. Stir and cook 2 to 3 minutes. Then add the vegetable broth. When the shrimp are cooked through, add bacon jam and stir to mix in completely. Serve shrimp over grits.Yield: About 4-6 servings Bacon Jam Chef Ryan Payne uses fresh Roma tomatoes with the skins removed. Our tester had no issue substituting canned Italian plum tomatoes. From Weathervane restaurant in Chapel Hill 6 slices bacon, diced 1 large yellow onion, diced 1 28-ounce can Italian plum tomatoes 3 large garlic cloves, minced 2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar 3/4 cup sugar 1 teaspoon salt 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
COOK bacon and yellow onion in a large Dutch oven over medium heat until bacon is crisp. Remove some but not all of the bacon grease if possible.
DRAIN tomatoes, reserving juice. Chop up 2 cups tomatoes and add to the bacon and onions. Add garlic, vinegar, sugar, salt and pepper. Cook on low for 1 1/2 hours. If jam becomes too thick, add 1/4 cup reserved tomato juice or water and continue cooking until onions are fully cooked. Taste and adjust sugar, salt and pepper if needed. This jam will keep in the refrigerator for two weeks to a month.Yield: about 2 cups
Specialty of the House gets recipes for local restaurant dishes. Send requests, including your city, to Specialty of the House, The N&O, P.O. Box 191, Raleigh, N.C. 27602; or email firstname.lastname@example.org.