I've been saving some very special grits from Anson Mills for a celebratory feast. The occasion was a weekday getaway to Fidalgo Island, a not-so-typical Tuesday.
Those grits are extra incredible because they're made from heritage varieties of corn, an effort led by forward-thinking and backwards looking farmers in the American South. Going back to those time-honored varieties makes for a bowl of grits that sings with the kind of true corn flavor corn lovers crave.
When I first started messing around with this recipe, I followed an arduous process laid out by groundbreaking chef David Chang. It called for making a bacon dashi and simmering the grits with kombu, which is dried kelp. The results were tasty, but not sure it was worth all the effort. So, I'm now back to the classic preparation, which involves simmering and stirring furiously to prevent lumps. Done in 20.
For the shrimp, wild ones from Argentina, I just toss them in olive oil before tossing them onto the Foreman Grill, set up outside on a picnic table near our warming fire. Then, when they're nearly finished cooking, I add some sun-dried tomato pesto, a recipe inspired by an excellent product from Rao's. Add some asparagus to the mix and you've got a celebratory feast worthy of any random Tuesday by the fire near the beach.
BTW, I first learned about Anson Mills through the awesome Southern Foodways Alliance. If you love food and history and music and cool people, please consider joining this organization! I've been a member since 2004.