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Berlin, Ocean Pines News Worcester County Bayside Gazette Logo Berlin, Ocean Pines News Worcester County Bayside Gazette


Cheesy shrimp and grits with garlic kale

By Paul Suplee

The holiday season is upon us, and no I am not referring to the plethora of Christmas vacations already popping up on store shelves across our great land. I accept this egregious exploitation of commercialism and will personally stay my desires to decorate for the holiday until Thanksgiving weekend.

No, for now Halloween is the next holiday on the docket. Not necessarily my favorite holiday, it is still a day that carries a fair amount of good memories from my childhood. I mean, who wouldn’t want a bag of free candy gathered by begging door-to-door? I still consider doing it sometimes. No one is perfect.

This time of year is always a blur for me, as school is started, my classes are all in full swing and it is October. I wonder how it’s possible that I missed summer (at least that’s what it feels like), but then I reflect on the amazing trips that we took this year. I guess when you get older, time flies much faster than anyone would ever want. But, if you seize the day and live every day as though it were your last, you could be amazed at how much you can accomplish.

Wow, I didn’t know that this is where an article of family-style shrimp & grits would lead, but c’est la guerre. Often my fingers will just start typing and my brain will do its best to keep up; I see a lot of squirrels.

Family-style has come back into vogue in restaurants and that pleases me. Reminiscent of family dinners, which have become few and far between in many American homes, going out to eat and getting a large pot placed on the table for all to share is the next best thing. And when the meal is home-cooked (or in-house semantically), there is a wholesome beauty to it.

So as we get ready for the holidays – one at a time please – let’s remember to take a moment for family and friends and gather around our tables a little more than we are right now. And while you eat, share your memories of a summer gone by and dream of the many to come.

Shrimp & Grits
serves 6

2 quarts Cheesy grits (recipe follows)
24 Large shrimp
3 Tbsp. Brown butter (recipe follows)
1/4 cup Blackening seasoning
4 cups Garlic kale (recipe follows)

  1. Have hot grits at the ready. They are fairly bomb proof, so you can makes these far in advance and reheat or keep warm until service
  2. Heat the brown butter in a cast iron pan and dust the shrimp with the blackening seasoning
  3. Cook the shrimp on a medium-high heat until they are cooked through and have a nice crust on them
  4. Place the grits in a low-walled pan, so that they can be served family-style and it is easy to reach for your guests
  5. Top with hot garlic kale and run the shrimp around the outside of the pan
  6. Drizzle the grits with any leftover brown butter from the shrimp and serve
  7. If you have any bacon bits leftover, they can be sprinkled on as well, or if you happen to have a chorizo, that can be used as a garnish as well

Cheesy Grits
makes about 2 quarts

1 quart chicken stock
1 cup Yellow polenta
1/4 cup Butter
1 cup Heavy cream
1 pound Sharp cheddar cheese
1/2 cup Decent parmesan
Salt & Pepper to taste

  1. Bring stock to a boil and sprinkle in the polenta while whisking
  2. Cook for about an hour on a low heat after it has thickened, stirring constantly
  3. When the polenta takes on a creamy feel, add the remaining ingredients and stir thoroughly
  4. Season to taste and set aside


Brown Butter
makes about 1 cup

1 pound Whole unsalted butter

  1. Melt butter in a pan slowly so that it separates into its three distinguishable layers
  2. Skim the “scum” off of the top and discard
  3. Allow remaining butter to come to a “boil” on a medium heat. Since the water and suspended matter will sink below the oil itself, this will boil out and evaporate
  4. As the water evaporates, the solids will start to turn color, adding both a brown hue and a nutty aroma to the finished product
  5. Run it through cheesecloth or paper towel in a strainer to remove any of the scorched particulates
  6. The remaining oil is your brown butter


Garlic Kale
makes 1 quart

4 quarts Picked and cleaned kale
1 cup Garlic cloves
2 cups Olive oil (you’ll have plenty left over)
1 med. Yellow onion, julienne
4 strips worth of bacon bits
1 cup Chicken stock or white wine
Salt & Pepper to taste

  1. Add the garlic and oil to a small sauce pan and slowly poach for about an hour, ensuring that the garlic never scorches or burns
  2. Set aside until needed
  3. In a heavy pan, bring 2 Tbsp. of the oil to a heat high enough to sauté the onions until translucent
  4. Add the kale and garlic cloves and cook for about 2 minutes
  5. Add the stock or wine and cook for another 2 minutes. The kale should be a deep or dark green and not browning at all
  6. When finished, top with bacon bits and season to taste