Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Shrimp & Grits with Romesco Sauce

SP & I got hooked on Worst Cooks in America on Food Network. 'Sixteen of the worst chefs in America take part in a culinary boot camp as they try to go from kitchen zero to kitchen hero!' Some of them are truly awful in the beginning and we always have a good laugh wondering how they actually manage to feed themselves and their families! Someone seriously made a grilled cheese with an iron! I didn't think anyone actually did that!!!

They are divided into 2 teams, one led by Anne Burrell and the other by Robert Irvine. Each chef tries to whip their recruits into shape and every week, one person (the one who did the worst at the food challenge) is eliminated. The final 2 recruits compete for the grand prize by cooking for a panel of three food critics.

We really enjoy the show - it always makes us laugh and also makes us see areas in which our culinary skills are lacking! Several of the recipes the recruits had to create sounded really yummy. Last night, we decided to try Chef Robert's Pan Seared Shrimp with Romesco Sauce, Creamy Grits, and Greens.

Romesco is a sauce originating in Spain. It is usually made from almonds, pine nuts, and/or hazelnuts; roasted garlic; olive oil; and nyora peppers (a smaller, sweet, dried variety of red bell pepper). Other common ingredients include roasted tomatoes, red wine vinegar and onion.We used almonds, balsamic vinegar (not red wine vinegar; I grabbed the wrong bottle for the photo), tomatoes, roasted red peppers, bread, paprika, salt, and olive oil. We omitted the garlic, We used regular balsamic, not white balsamic. White balsamic vinegar is supposed to be a bit milder and sweeter than regular balsamic and is usually used when the dark color of traditional balsamic vinegar would adversely affect the color of the food.

This sauce is very easy - puree everything in the food processor and it's ready!

The grits are easy to make.We used white cheddar instead of havarti and whole milk instead of heavy cream. They didn't take long to cook at all - even less time than the recipe said.

The shrimp were easy to make, too.We did not open a bottle of wine for the 2 tablespoons of white wine called for in this recipe! It's easy to cook the shrimp in the skillet - just beware of cooking them too long & making them tough.

As for the greens, I am not a huge fan of mustard greens, so we decided to use spinach. Since I don't really like cooked spinach, we didn't cook it!

We spooned some grits on our plates, topped the grits with spinach, and topped the spinach with the shrimp, them spooned some extra romesco sauce from the shrimp pan over it all.This was quite tasty and it was very nice to try something new. Our grits weren't as tasty as the grits we ate in Savannah & Charleston on our honeymoon, but they were pretty good!! We decided that next time, we'd buy the havarti (we just didn't want to buy another cheese when we have 5 huge Costco blocks in the cheese drawer now) and we'd add some shallot or onion to the romesco sauce. It's definitely a quick and easy meal to make during the work week after work.


  1. This sounds really interesting - it's not something I'd normally think to make. Great idea!

  2. Love the color and the combinatino of shrimp & grits. Also love "Worst Cooks in America" although I miss the cute, geeky-looking girl from last season.