A few days ago, Justyn and I were watching Throwdown on Food Network with Bobby Flay vs the challenger (sorry I can't remember his name!). After my not-so-pleasant experience at Bobby Flay's Mesa Grill in Vegas, I really wanted to try the challenger's recipe of shrimp & grits. So.... after all that and having watched the Throwdown episode, Justyn and I were craving shrimp & grits. Out of that, I decided to do a mini Throwdown challenge with Justyn.
He WAS going to make shrimp & grits but the shrimp at the store didn't look so good so instead he bought herb and crumb crusted tilapia. The grits were topped with grated parmesan cheese. He also sauteed some bell peppers & jalapeno. Here's how it turned out. I totally regret not taking a picture of the entire dish but I was trying to be artsy fartsy heh...
And here's my attempt. I actually followed the challenger's recipe on Throwdown. That's the real difference between our methods. Justyn likes to wing it a lot of the time and I like to follow recipes to the T. The recipe was more complicated than it looked because you have three different things going on. I started out by marinating the shrimp with Cajun seasoning, paprika, and dried Italian seasoning. Then I threw in some thinly sliced red bell pepper, red onion & jalapeno into the cast iron pan. While that was cooking, I started the grits. I am horrible and multi-tasking when it comes to cooking so I had to get Justyn to help me stir the grits while the veggies finished cooking. I added the cheese, tomato paste & cream to the grits and then gave it a quick stir before removing the veggies from the cast iron pan and adding the shrimp. After the shrimp were cooked, I put them to the side and started the sauce with a roux. If you make this recipe and you're like me, I highly recommend that you make one component at a time. Don't try to be bad ass heh.
So here's how it turned out. Pretty to look at but really salty. I over did it with the seasoning for the shrimp. Next time, I'll only add one tablespoon of the Cajun seasoning and no salt. Other than the saltiness of the shrimp, the rest was divine. It's a really rich dish but yummy. I garnished with some chopped green onion and honey ham.
Throwdown Challenger Recipe: http://www.foodnetwork.com/recipes/shrimp-and-grits-recipe/index.html