Bacon-Wrapped Shrimp and Grits with Tomato-Chipotle Butter
*Chipotle peppers are smoked, dried jalapeños. Here, canned chipotles in adobo sauce add a rich, smoky, spicy kick to the dish.
- ½ lb (227 g) butter, softened
- 2 Tbs tomato paste
- ¼ cup (59 ml) canned chipotles in adobo sauce
- 2 tsp kosher salt, divided
- 1 cup (237 ml) milk
- 8 fl oz (237 ml) hazy double IPA
- ½ cup (118 ml) grits or medium-coarse cornmeal
- 10 shrimp, cleaned, tail off (choose shrimp large enough to hold the bacon, nothing smaller than a 21/25)
- 5 slices bacon, cut in half
- 3 Tbs butter, chilled
- ½ cup (118 ml) Monterey Jack cheese, shredded
- 1 Tbs chives, cut on the bias about 1" (25 mm) long
In a food processor, combine the softened butter, tomato paste, canned chipotles, and 1 tsp salt. Puree until smooth. Remove the mixture from the food processor and set aside in the refrigerator.
Preheat the oven to 425°F (218°C). In a medium saucepan, combine the milk, beer, and remaining salt. Bring to a boil. Whisk in the grits or cornmeal and reduce the heat to low. Cover and cook until done, about 20 minutes (check the package for correct time).
While the grits are cooking, wrap each shrimp with a piece of bacon, securing the bacon with a toothpick if necessary. Place the shrimp on a sheet pan and cook until the bacon has reached a desired doneness. Remove the shrimp from the oven and set aside.
When the grits/cornmeal are cooked, whisk in the chilled butter and Monterey Jack cheese. Adjust the seasoning as needed. (Note: The grits can be prepared ahead and reheated slowly with a little milk over low heat.)
To plate, place 1 cup (237 ml) of grits on a deep plate or bowl. Place 2 Tbs of the chipotle-tomato butter on top of the grits. Place 5 of the bacon-wrapped shrimp on top of the grits and garnish with the chives. Serve immediately.
Beer Tasting Notes: No holding back, now. Here we double down on juicy hop character, allowing thick, creamy grits to absorb and reappropriate just enough of the sweetness and tiki-drink flavors of the beer to add a new dimension. A broadly sweet palate and big body tend to push those juicier flavors from the hops, whose tropical-citrus notes join the dish’s riot of smoky-piquant chipotle, bacon, and fragrant chives. The sweet, toothsome shrimp and buttery-cheesy grits themselves serve as sturdy, forgiving communicators of all that flavor.
Beer Suggestions: Firestone Walker Double Mind Haze (Paso Robles, California), Hop Butcher for the World Run to Daylight (Chicago), New Anthem BA’AL (Wilmington, North Carolina).