On this episode of Culinary Nunnsense we explore the bounty of the sea and the fresh fruits, veggies and seafood we can find at reputable roadside vendors.
We are very lucky to live in an area so rich with farm fresh food and the beautiful bounty of the Atlantic and local water ways. A few weeks ago I was sitting at a stop light when I saw a sign, "Fresh Mayport Shrimp 3# for $12." I stopped and checked this roadside deal. Turns out the shrimp were really from Darien (still local) and they were HUGE. While they may not be from "Mayport" they were still local and they were fresh. So I bought a mess of shrimp and headed home.
There is something nostalgic about roadside shopping for fruits, veggies or in this case shrimp. It got me thinking of the little spots my mom and dad would visit. This got me thinking about the neighborhood I grew up in and before I even got home, I knew I wanted a southern favorite with a tropical twist.
Mojo Shrimp and Grits
Mojo sauce changes from island to island and truly from house to house. This is a great starter Mojo that you can build on. Works great on chicken, pork and flank steak.
7 cloves garlic, peeled and roasted (pan roasting with oil works best)
2 teaspoons salt
1/3 cup lime juice (from 4 to 5 limes)
1/4 cup orange juice (from 1 orange)
1/4 cup olive oil
Prepare the mojo
Make a wet garlic paste by mashing the roasted garlic cloves with salt in a bowl. The back of a spoon or through the tines of a fork works well.
Place the garlic mix in a small bowl and add lime juice and orange juice. Stir to combine. Let mix rest for for 20 minutes.
Add mix to a small saucepan and set it over medium heat. (This can be done on your grill or on your stove.) When small bubbles begin to rise to the surface give the mix a good stir to combine and tighten up the paste. Set aside.
2 pounds jumbo shrimp, peeled, deveined, and butterflied
1/4 cup vegetable oil
Salt and black pepper
2 limes, cut into small wedges
Season and grill the shrimp
Place the shrimp in a large mixing bowl and drizzle them with olive oil. Season with salt and pepper and toss well. It's best to use your hands for this, as you want to make sure the oil and seasonings get inside the slits you made in the shrimp.
Heat your grill to high (550°F) and close the lid or heat a large skillet to high. If you are using the grill make sure to oil the grill grates with a vegetable or grape seed oil-soaked paper towel held with a long pair of tongs if using skillet method lightly oil skillet.
Either way it is important to properly place the shrimp on the grill or not over crowd a skillet so that they cook quickly and evenly. To ensure even cooking I recommend using a skewer so you can cook a number of shrimp at once. Grill or sauté until the flesh of the shrimp has turned white and is no longer translucent. You should only need to turn shrimp one time.
Serve the shrimp and mojo
Mound the grilled shrimp on a large platter and garnish with lime wedges. Serve with the garlicky mojo for your guests to use as a dipping sauce.
For the Yellow Grits or Polenta
Follow the directions on your favorite grits. If you are looking for a favorite try Bob's Red Mill or for really fresh grits try http://noramill.com/
I think if you combine some island flavors to your classic southern shrimp and grits add a little Culinary Nunnsense, you too will say there is Nunn better.