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Crispy Cajun Shrimp and Cheesy Grits

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  • Level: Easy
  • Total: 45 min
  • Active: 45 min
  • Yield: 4 to 6 servings
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Ingredients

4 tablespoons butter

1 cup creamed corn 

4 scallions, whites sliced, greens reserved 

Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper

2 cups chicken stock 

1 cup milk 

1 cup old-fashioned yellow grits 

2 ounces pepper jack cheese, grated 

2 ounces sharp Cheddar cheese, grated 

1 quart neutral oil, for deep-frying

One 18-ounce package frozen popcorn shrimp 

Cajun Butter, recipe follows

Cajun Butter:

1 teaspoon smoked paprika

1 teaspoon sugar 

1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper 

1/2 teaspoon celery seed 

1/2 teaspoon garlic powder 

1/2 teaspoon onion powder 

1/2 teaspoon dried oregano 

1/2 teaspoon dried thyme 

1/2 teaspoon kosher salt 

1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper 

4 tablespoons butter 

Directions

  1. Heat 2 tablespoons of the butter in a saucepan over medium heat until melted. Add the corn and scallion whites and saute for 5 minutes. Season with salt and pepper. Add 1 cup water. Using an immersion blender, blend the mixture until smooth. Add the stock and milk and bring to a simmer.
  2. Slowly rain in the grits while whisking vigorously. Bring to a simmer and keep at a light simmer while stirring constantly, about 15 minutes. Add the cheese and remaining 2 tablespoons butter and whisk until smooth. If the grits are too tight, add a bit more water to loosen them up. Season to taste.
  3. Meanwhile, heat the oil in a heavy-bottomed pot until a deep-frying thermometer registers 350 degrees F. Fry the shrimp until crispy, 3 to 5 minutes. Drain on a paper towel-lined plate.
  4. Toss the hot crispy shrimp with the warm Cajun Butter. Spoon the shrimp over bowls of grits with some of the butter. Slice the reserved scallion greens very thinly on the bias and sprinkle on top. 

Cajun Butter:

  1. Mix the paprika, sugar, cayenne, celery seed, garlic powder, onion powder, oregano, thyme, salt and pepper together in a bowl. Heat a 12-inch nonstick skillet over medium heat. Put the spice mixture in the skillet and toast to waken up the flavors, about 3 minutes. Add the butter and melt until foamy.