For a second week running I've turned to the US for breakfast dishes that are pretty crazy for a British breakfast table. For some reason products of the sea are conspicuous in their absence from the first meal of the day here, you may see a rare kipper or an even rarer smoked haddock, a trip across the Severn may see a few cockles and some seaweed, but that's about it - definitely no prawns. My stint in Asia left me loving them for breakfast though so making the transition from a noodle soup to this dish was very easy.
It's a quick dish to prepare. The first step of browning some smoked bacon and onion in a little oil leaves a pan full of those flavours, ready to impart on the prawns. Once they're starting to colour a few chunks of tomato go in - we're not aiming to break them down, just warm them through. A knob of butter adds richness to both the sauce and grits and the soft yolk is a second, ready made sauce. It's real comfort food that spoons down the throat very easily, warm with smoke and interspersed with the sweet chew of prawns and crunch of browned bacon.
It's a southern US dish at heart but is supposedly very popular in the hipster establishments of New York, I can see why. With current blogger's favourite Spuntino offering the first grits I've seen in London maybe a restaurant version of this isn't too far down the line here either. If it does pop up I'm not sure it will be at breakfast time though.
Shrimp and Grits
1/2 cup grits
500ml stock (chicken or prawn)
12 king prawns/shrimps, if you have them the shells will help with your stock
4 rashers smoked streaky bacon
1/2 small red onion, 1cm dice
1 large tomato, seeded then 1cm diced
A big knob of butter
Prepare the grits as detailed on the packet. Mine takes 5 minutes which gives enough time to make the 'shrimp'. Finish it with a knob of butter, although that's not just yet.
Get the fried egg goings.
Heat some oil over a reasonably high heat. Slice the bacon into 1cm batons then fry with the onion until both are starting to brown, chuck in the prawns and fry until coloured. Add in the tomato and the remaining butter and give just enough time for them to heat through and the prawns finish.
Spoon the grits onto a plate (pasta bowls work well), place an egg on top and pour over the 'shrimp'.
I like to eat with some hot sauce (Franks, Tabasco...) so you may do too.