E10: Shrimp & Grits with Chef John

“It’s Better with Butter”

February 18 | New York City

Chef John Scoff hails from Charleston, South Carolina, where he was the executive chef of a low-country bistro before coming to his senses and joining Home Cooking New York’s teaching team in 2005 (he was following his then-girlfriend, now-wife who was moving north for a teaching job). His most sought after class is Southern Brunch, so I asked him to share some of his signature takes on this Southern classic.



Chef John’s Shrimp and Grits
Serves 4

For the grits:
1 cup stone-ground grits (John likes his grits from Anson Mills or Carolina Plantation)
4 cups water
4 tablespoons unsalted butter
Kosher salt
½ cup grated Parmigiano, Pecorino, or sharp cheddar cheese

For the shrimp stock:
1 tablespoon unsalted butter
Shells reserved from 1 pound shrimp (see below)
1 tablespoon tomato paste
1/3 cup white wine
Aromatics: 1 bay leaf, 1 star anise, 1 sprig fresh thyme, 1 sliced carrot, 1 sliced celery stalk, 1 smashed garlic clove

For the shrimp:
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
½ pound kiellbasa, cut into 1/2-inch half moons
1 tablespoon Old Bay seasoning
3 garlic cloves, minced
1 small onion, diced
1 green bell pepper, cut in 1-inch squares
1 cup shrimp stock (see recipe below)
1 pound medium sized WILD shrimp, peeled and deveined (shells reserved for shrimp stock)
1 cup grape or cherry tomatoes, halved
2 tablespoons unsalted butter

  1. In a medium sized pot, bring water, butter, and ½ teaspoon kosher salt to boil over high heat. Once boiling, pour in grits, stirring with a wooden spoon. Continue stirring until grits just get slightly thick, about 5 minutes. Reduce heat to low and cook until tender, about 45 minutes. Stir in the cheese until melted; set aside.
  2. Make the stock: In a medium saucepan over medium heat, melt the butter. Add the shells and cook until bright pink and lightly browned, about 5 minutes. Add the tomato paste and cook for 1 minute. Add the wine and cook for 2 minutes, to evaporate the alcohol. Add the aromatics and cover with 3 cups of water. Bring to a boil, reduce heat to low, and simmer for 15 minutes. Strain, and set aside.
  3. In large skillet over medium high heat, heat the butter. Add the kielbasa and cook until browned, about 4 minutes. Add the onion, pepper, and garlic and cook until softened, about 3 minutes. Add the spices and cook for 1 minute, to bloom their flavor. Add the shrimp stock and the shrimp and bring the mixture to a boil. When the shrimp and half cooked (still with a bit of gray coloring), add the tomatoes and cook until the shrimp are fully cooked and the tomatoes are warmed through. Turn off heat and stir in butter until melted.
  4. Serve in shallow bowls over grits.