The Mast Farm Inn Shrimp & Grits
The Mast Farm Inn Shrimp & Grits A-La-Josephine • We consider shrimp & grits the proverbial southern tinted and flavor infused canvas, on which we paint untold numbers of savory variations. Much like for Benjamin Buford "Bubba" Blue, Lieutenant Dan Taylor and Forrest Gump, we find shrimp, and their faithful sidekick grits, a moveable feast of endless possibilities. And we may well have about a dozen recipes for The Official Mast Farm Shrimp & Grits. This is The Mast Farm Inn Shrimp & Grits A-La-Josephine.
While always containing shrimp and grits, each of those basic ingredients, and their accompanying embellishments, can be prepared an untold number of ways and they are. We even have a variation we call Parisian Grits. What follows is but one of our shrimp and grits recipes, in fact the first, as published in Cooking Light in November 1999. Our momma always said, "Life is like a bowl of shrimp and grits. You never know what you’re gonna get, but it’s usually real good" And that’s all we have to say about that.
The Mast Farm Inn Shrimp & Grits A-La-Josephine
• 1 cup Rosemary & Tomato Sauce as per recipe below
• 2 cups Appalachian Hiking Grits as per recipe below
• 1 pound large shrimp
• 2 teaspoons "Cajun Seasoning" or "OLD BAY® Seasoning"
• Cooking spray
Peel shrimp. Starting at tail end, butterfly each shrimp, cutting to, but not through, top of shrimp. Heat a nonstick skillet coated with cooking spray over medium-high heat. Add shrimp and seasoning; sauté 3 minutes or until shrimp are done. Spoon 1/2 cup Appalachian Hiking Grits onto each of 4 plates; top each serving with 5 shrimp. Spoon 1/4 cup Rosemary-Tomato Sauce evenly around shrimp.
Josephine’s Rosemary-Tomato Sauce
• 2 teaspoons olive oil
• 1 cup diced organic onion
• 1 1/2 cups diced organic red bell pepper
• 1 tablespoon chopped fresh or 1 teaspoon dried rosemary
• 4 cups coarsely chopped peeled organic tomato
• 1/2 cup dry white wine
• 1/4 teaspoon salt
• 8 garlic cloves, minced
Heat oil in a large saucepan over medium-high heat. Add onion; sauté 3 minutes. Add bell pepper and rosemary; sauté 1 minute. Stir in tomato, wine, salt, and garlic; bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer 30 minutes.
Finley’s Appalachian Hiking Grits
2 cups water
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
1/8 teaspoon dry mustard
1/8 teaspoon paprika
1/2 cup uncooked regular grits
1/4 cup shredded sharp cheddar cheese
2 teaspoons butter or stick margarine
Bring first 5 ingredients to a boil. Stir in grits; cover, reduce heat, and simmer 20 minutes, stirring occasionally. Stir in cheese and butter.
A BRIEF HISTORY OF SHRIMP AND GRITS • Robb Walsh, What’s Cooking America & Wikipedia
Grits refers to a ground-corn food of Native American origin, that is common in the Southern United States and eaten mainly at breakfast. Three-quarters of grits sold in the U.S. are sold in the South, throughout an area stretching from Texas to Virginia, sometimes referred to as the "grits belt". The state of Georgia declared grits its official prepared food in 2002. For many people in this region, a day without grits is like a day without sunshine.
"Shrimp & grits started out as a seasonal fisherman’s dish of shrimp cooked in bacon grease served over creamy grits in the Low Country where they were also known as "breakfast shrimp." The simple seafood breakfast became an iconic Southern dish after Craig Claiborne wrote about it in the New York Times in 1985." ~ Robb Walsh
Grits were one of the first truly American foods, as the Native Americans ate a mash made of softened corn or maize. In 1584, during their reconnaissance party of what is now Roanoke, North Carolina, Sir Walter Raleigh and his men met and dined with the local Indians. Having no language in common, the two groups quickly resorted to food and drink. One of Raleigh’s men, Arthur Barlowe, recorded notes on the foods of the Indians. He made a special note of corn, which he found "very white, faire, and well tasted." He also wrote about being served a boiled corn. When the colonists came ashore in Jamestown, Virginia, in 1607, the Indians offered them bowls of this boiled corn substance. The Indians called it "rockahomine," which was later shortened to "hominy" by the colonists.
"The shrimp grits that fired Clairborne’s imagination came from Crook’s Corner restaurant in North Carolina. The chef there, Bill Neal, started out with a French restaurant, but with Clairborne’s encouragement, created his own upscale Southern cooking style in the 1980s. Bill Neal went on to write some best-selling Southern cookbooks. Neal’s shrimp grits featured a spicy sauté of shrimp over cheese grits loaded up with bacon, mushrooms and scallions." ~ Robb Walsh
In the Low Country of South Carolina and particularly Charleston, shrimp and grits has been considered a basic breakfast for coastal fishermen and families for decades during the shrimp season. Simply called "breakfast shrimp," the dish consisted of a pot of grits with shrimp cooked in a little bacon grease or butter. During the past decade, this dish has been dressed up and taken out on the town to the fanciest restaurants. Not just for breakfast anymore, it is also served for brunch, lunch, and dinner. In 1976, grits were declared the official state food of South Carolina
"Neal died at an early age, and it seems that every Southern chef has felt obligated to follow his lead and come up with a new spin on shrimp grits. John Currance makes his grits extra spicy at City Grocery in Oxford, Mississippi. Frank Stitt makes a soupy rendition he calls Shrimp and Grits Etouffee at Highland Grill in Birmingham." ~ Robb Walsh
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The Mast Farm Inn is an award-winning historic country inn & restaurant in the Valle Crucis Historical District of North Carolina, which has been welcoming guests since the 1800s. The Mast Farm Inn is a Historic Hotels of America hotel, a Select Registry Inn, and is on The National Register of Historic Places.