Recipe: Shrimp and grits from Blackwall Hitch

Shrimp and grits at Blackwall Hitch in Annapolis.
Shrimp and grits at Blackwall Hitch in Annapolis. (Jen Rynda / Baltimore Sun Media Group)
At Blackwall Hitch, in Annapolis’ maritime-friendly Eastport neighborhood, shrimp and grits are a house specialty. The restaurant’s traditional take on the classic Southern comfort dish is met with rave reviews for its exciting flavors and satisfying texture.
Chef Joe Zagami’s simple recipe pairs sweet shrimp with Southern-flecked spiciness, including Cajun seasoning and smoky andouille sausage. Grits, flavored with cheddar and down-home American cheese, provide a savory, creamy base for the shrimp’s powerful bite.
Shrimp and Grits
Serves four

For the grits:

2 quarts chicken stock
2 quarts heavy cream
2 quarts grits
2 cups cheddar cheese, grated
2 cups yellow American cheese
Salt and pepper to taste

1. In a large, heavy-bottomed saucepan set over medium-high heat, mix chicken stock and heavy cream. Bring to a boil.

2. Add grits and stir until the grits are thick and difficult to stir. (Stir continuously as the grits cook so they do not stick to the bottom of the pot.)

3. Remove the pot from the heat and add cheese, salt and pepper. 

4. Set aside while cooking the shrimp.

For the shrimp:

¼ cup vegetable oil
20 16/20-count shrimp, peeled and deveined
1 cup sliced andouille sausage
2 tablespoons Cajun spice
1 tablespoon garlic, minced
1 tablespoon shallots, minced
½ cup tomato, diced
1 cup white wine
½ stick of butter

1. Heat oil in a large sauté pan over medium-high heat. 

2. When oil is hot, add shrimp, Cajun spice and sausage. Toss.

3. Cook for one minute, then add garlic, shallots and tomato. Toss with shrimp and sausage.

4. Cook, letting the flavors marry, for about two minutes.

5. Add white wine to the pan and deglaze, scraping any brown bits from the bottom of the pan. Let the mixture simmer until the shrimp are just cooked through, about one minute or less.

6. Remove pan from heat and add butter. Stir to combine.

To plate:

1 tablespoon chopped fresh chives

1. Divide the grits among four large bowls.

2. Add five shrimp to each bowl, then top with sauce, tomato and sausage.

3. Garnish each bowl with fresh chives.

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